Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association, has claimed that black Metropolitan police officers have complained of being ‘put under pressure’ by ‘white colleagues’ to donate to a fund that has raised £150,000 for two former Met officers.
The Metropolitan Black Police Association (MetBPA) is a staff association that was founded in September 1994. It represents over 4,000 officers and staff of Black, African and Asian descent within the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and is the largest Black police association in the United Kingdom.
Former PCs Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks were on patrol in London in July 2020 with three of their TSG colleagues when they stopped to let a Mercedes car turn into a road in front of them. However, the Mercedes entered the road on the wrong side and then drove at an average speed of 32 MPH in a 20 MPH zone.
The vehicle was being driven by Ricardo dos Santos. In the car was a three-month-old baby and his partner, Bianca Williams. When the car came to a stop, dos Santos and Williams were placed in cuffs as officers tried to understand why dos Santos had driven in the way witnessed by the officers.
Williams uploaded some partial footage from the stop to social media, which soon went viral. For three years, several media outlets reported the views of dos Santos and Williams, suggesting they were only stopped owing to their ethnicity.
The IOPC investigated the incident and directed that a misconduct hearing, chaired by an independent, legally qualified professional, should occur. Also on the panel was a police officer and an independent person.
After six weeks, the panel concluded that dos Santos and Williams were not stopped owing to their ethnicity. Two professors specialising in the field of optics concluded that before the vehicle was stopped, the officers would not have been able to discern the driver’s skin colour. The panel also decided that the officers did not use excessive force.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian newspaper, Mr George said that he had received multiple accounts from black officers who felt pressed to give money to the JustGiving campaign.
George stated that the alleged coercion involved an email distributed to all members of one of the Met police’s 12 basic command units, urging every officer to contribute financially to support the dismissed individuals.
Despite claims, every source ESN approached denied receiving the said email. This sentiment was echoed by officers posting on X.
Ben_Stephenson wrote: I’ve thought long and hard about commenting however, I have not seen any email containing the content that
@andygeorgeni is referring to in paragraph 3 of this [The Guardian’s] article. It’s a serious allegation to make.’
PC_Angry shared: ‘I have spoken to numerous people on several BCUs… they have seen no such email either.
AWilsonmhhealth said: ‘Complaint to PSD or via whistleblowing policy. Integrity and/or disaffection issue. He needs to be held to account if the email doesn’t exist. Time for a reality check for him?’
Mr George rebuked the doubt regarding the existence of the email, stating: ‘It certainly is and the Met BPA have the email.’
Responding, @legalclaret wrote: ‘Presumably a copy of the email will appear on here shortly? Or not as the case may be.’
The Guardian has not confirmed direct access to the email in question.
Speaking to The Guardian, George said: “Black officers say they are sitting in parade rooms while others are donating – and they are really pushing them to [donate] as well. Or they are just under pressure because of the general conversation.
“They were made to feel really uncomfortable by their colleagues around not donating, and that forced them into actually doing it themselves.
“A lot of serving officers have donated to this fundraiser and, if you’re one or two black officers in a patrol room of 20 people, and everybody is accusing Ricardo dos Santos of lying – and how police need to get into the black community more because they are committing the crimes and we police need to support our man – it’s really difficult for a black officer to say ‘I’m not doing it’ if they’re by themselves.”
The Guardian’s piece suggested dos Santos and Williams were pulled over because officers detected a cannabis aroma coming from their vehicle. Yet, the officers didn’t assert that they followed dos Santos due to a cannabis scent while driving behind him. They claimed the scent was evident during the stop itself. The misconduct panel determined that of the five officers, three possibly did cannabis during the stop, but Clapham and Franks did not, merely aligning with their colleagues’ statements.
No cannabis was found during the stop.
Although numerous officers have generously contributed to the campaign, aiding the dismissed officers and their families, a significant proportion of the donations seems to stem from the general public.
This assessment emerges from an examination of the comments on the crowdfunding page before the campaign sponsor turned off the commenting feature.
Before You Go…
Want a front-row seat to the most gripping stories from the heart of the emergency services? Join our exclusive WhatsApp Channel now and be the first to get real-time updates, videos, and tales from the frontline.
Join our WhatsApp community!
ESN is now on WhatsApp, and we want you to join our communities.
To join, you need to have WhatsApp on your device. All you need to do is click the link and press 'Join community'.
No one will be able to see who is signed up, and no one can send messages except the ESN team.
Joining our WhatsApp channel is a great way to help support our work and best of all, it is free!
If you don't like our community, you can check out any time you like. To leave our community, click on the name at the top of your screen and choose 'exit group'.