In a stark contrast to mainstream media portrayals, the outpouring of public support for two former Metropolitan Police officers, Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks, is undeniable.
These officers faced dismissal following the stop-and-search of two athletes, and a JustGiving online fundraiser created to help support their families has already collected an impressive £125,000.
Significantly, the vast majority of these contributions appear to have come from ordinary members of the public.
Readers’ comments on a mainstream media article depicting so-called ‘outrage’ underscore the extensive support these officers have garnered.
These remarks in the article comments section have attracted the most ‘upvotes’ from the article’s readers, further highlighting the support that the officers are receiving despite the obvious irritation regarding the crowdfunding campaign from some sections of the mainstream media.
A commenter named ‘Jogon’ from Gloucester advised the article’s journalist to familiarise themselves with the case’s details before penning the piece.
Another user unequivocally stated, “The public are patently not outraged as they are donating to the appeal.” Such responses illustrate a public sentiment far removed from the “outrage” portrayed by some mainstream media outlets.
Scrutinising the incident details paints a more comprehensive picture.
While the disciplinary panel accepted that other officers present could smell cannabis in the area of the stop, they strangely concluded that the dismissed officers couldn’t share the same sensory perception, a conclusion drawn three years after the event.
No cannabis was discovered on the athletes or within their vehicle, and there is no suggestion that the individuals stopped had been in contact with any cannabis.
The driver of the stopped vehicle, dos Santos, displayed questionable driving behaviour before he finally did stop. He was observed driving at an average of 32 mph in a 20 mph zone – unbeknownst to the police at the time, there was an infant in the car – and footage showed him entering a minor road from the wrong side.
This action alone contravenes Rule 160 of the Highway Code, for which offenders can be fined £100, receive three penalty points on their driving licence, and, in certain circumstances, face disqualification from driving.
Yet, dos Santos faced no repercussions for this evident violation of the Highway Code.
Allegations of racial profiling and excessive force were levied against the TSG officers, amplified repeatedly by mainstream media even before the six-week hearing concluded. Yet, the panel’s thorough investigation found no substantiated evidence to support these claims.
Amid the media storm and polarised opinions, one fact remains glaringly evident: a substantial portion of the public is rallying behind these officers, yet again challenging mainstream narratives.
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