Cases that highlight claims of police racial profiling in England

Controversy continues over how officers conduct stop and search measures

Recent cases, some caught on video, have renewed debate about police fairness in dealing with minority groups and sparked claims of racial profiling.

Sgt Janet Hills, the chair of the Met’s Black Police Association, said the videos were undercutting arguments justifying how officers conduct stop and search.

“Those videos are of people who are respectable, in terms of their occupations and lack of criminal record. The videos show people who should not have been stopped,” she said.

Andrew Boateng

Boateng decribes himself as pro-police – but said he was left humiliated by his experience of stop and search, while his son was now traumatised and fearful of the police.

Last month Boateng, 43, was out with 13-year-old Huugo on a charity bike ride when he was stopped and handcuffed. Huugo was so terrified that he fled, and was allegedly threatened by an officer with a Taser.

Met officers said they were looking for suspects after a nearby stabbing in Tottenham, north London, and that Boateng and his son matched the description given.

“We were the first black people they came across,” Boateng said.

Boateng, who had helped the Met build community relations, told the Guardian: “It was humiliating and infuriating; 100%, we were racially profiled.”

His son was now scared of the police, Boateng said. “He was getting scared when he heard sirens. He still feels worried out by himself. He understands there are some good ones and some bad ones.”

Boateng said the incident had tested his faith in the Met, but he would continue to work with officers he knew to build community relations. Officers he worked with “recognise there have been a lot of errors”, said Boateng, adding: “I was pro-police, I still am. I’m not pro-aggressive police. There was no reason to stop me in that manner, a simple polite request would have been sufficient and we would have complied.”

Neomi Bennett in London.
Neomi Bennett in London. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Neomi Bennett

The award-winning nurse Neomi Bennett was pulled over by police, who said they believed her windows were illegally tinted, and ordered her to get out to be searched. The incident escalated to such an extent that she intended to sue for wrongful arrest, assault, battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Bennett, from Wandsworth in south-west London, said the manner of the April 2019 stop and search – all recorded on police body cameras – was aggressive and “scared the life” out of her. After she refused to get out, she was forcibly removed and kept in a cell overnight.

Bennett, the holder of a British Empire Medal for services to nursing, was convicted of obstructing a police officer. After she appealed, the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned the case, wiping her criminal conviction.

The athlete Bianca Williams.
The athlete Bianca Williams. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Media

Bianca Williams

This week the athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos accused the Met of racially profiling them. The elite sprinters were handcuffed on Saturday after their vehicle was stopped, with their three-month-old baby inside. Nothing was found, which is the case for eight out of 10 stops carried out by the Met.

Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara

Mombeyarara was stopped at a petrol station by officers from Greater Manchester police for an alleged motoring offence in May. He was with his five-year-old son.

A video of the incident, which was circulated widely on social media, shows the 34-year-old being shot with an electronic weapon and slumping to the ground as his child cries and shouts: “Daddy.”

He has since been charged with driving at excess speed, not having vehicle insurance, being unfit to drive through drink and resisting police in the execution of their duty. He now plans to sue the chief constable of Greater Manchester police.

Millard Scott

When his son, the rapper Wretch 32, obtained video footage of his father, 62, being Tasered in his home by officers in April before falling downstairs, the case attracted national attention. Police say they were searching for a suspect when they entered the home in Tottenham, north London, and the case is under investigation.

Sisters Bibaa Henry (left) and Nicole Smallman.
Sisters Bibaa Henry (left) and Nicole Smallman. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA Media

Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry

As well as claims of officers being quick to wrongly suspect black, Asian and minority ethnic people, police also face claims of failures when BAME people are victims of crime.

The sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were found stabbed to death in Fryent country park in north-west London last month.

Their mother, Mina Smallman, said race played a part in police not treating their case seriously when they were reported missing after a birthday celebration. Officers allegedly took a selfie at the murder scene, and a photo containing the bodies, and allegedly shared them on a WhatsApp chat group, as revealed by the Guardian. The case is under investigation.

Mina Smallman said: “I knew instantly why they didn’t care. They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was. A black woman who lives on a council estate.”

The bodies were found not by police, but by Henry’s boyfriend who went back to the area where they had last been seen.


Vikram Dodd

The GuardianTramp

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