Bianca Williams Surprised by Crowdfunding for Officers in Misconduct Case

Team GB Athlete Bianca Williams Reacts to Crowdfunding for Fired Officers

Surprise and Disbelief

Bianca Williams, a Team GB athlete, expressed her astonishment regarding a JustGiving page that raised over £130,000 to support two police officers who had been dismissed for gross misconduct related to a stop and search incident involving Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos.

The couple was stopped by the police on July 4, 2020, leading to the subsequent actions taken against the officers involved.

Support for Dismissed Officers

Despite the officers being fired following a tribunal ruling that they had lied about smelling cannabis in the couple’s car, a crowdfunding campaign was initiated to financially support these former police constables, Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks.

Ms. Williams shared her thoughts on the situation, acknowledging that everyone has the right to start a crowdfund but expressing her shock at the circumstances, stating, “they shouldn’t have lost their jobs.”

She emphasized that the officers’ dismissal was a consequence of their dishonesty.

Backlash and Hate

In her interview on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Ms. Williams highlighted the negative responses they had received, noting that people were blaming them for the officers losing their jobs.

She indicated that they had faced significant backlash, with some insisting it wasn’t a racist situation.

The situation had evolved into a deeply challenging ordeal.

Donor Comments and Reactions

Donations to the JustGiving page for the ex-officers generated comments that described their dismissal as ‘scandalous appeasement and scapegoating’ and ‘an utter disgrace.’

Some criticized the donations as support for dishonest cops.

Author Alice Vinten, a former London constable, criticized these contributions, questioning whether it had become common practice to raise money for officers found to have lied.

Police Association Influence

Jules Carey, the solicitor representing the athletes, pointed out that many of the comments supporting the two officers on the fundraising page seemed to come from serving officers, police units, and police associations.

This observation raised concerns about the influence of loyalty within the police force over integrity.

These comments have since been removed to respect an impending appeal.

Importance of Accountability

The solicitor emphasized the importance of public confidence in the police being restored, suggesting that the commissioner should publicly support the panel’s decision and the significance of accountability within the Metropolitan Police.

Stop and Search Incident

The original incident involved the athletes being followed by a team of Met officers as they drove home from training with their baby son in the back seat of their car.

They were accused of racially profiling the couple.

The officers conducted a stop and search but found nothing incriminating.

Mr. Dos Santos accused the officers of detaining him for ‘DWB, driving while black.’

Acknowledgment and Apology

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward expressed apologies to the couple, acknowledging that they deserved better and stating that honesty and integrity are fundamental to policing.

He also recognized the need for the Met to earn the trust of communities, particularly the black community, in regard to the use of stop and search.

Athletic Achievements

The article concluded by mentioning that Bianca Williams won bronze in the 4x100m at the World Athletics Championships, and Mr. Dos Santos competed in the 400m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The case and its aftermath highlight the complexities of public opinion, accountability, and race in law enforcement.

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