Labour MP Dawn Butler, who is a strong critic of police stop-and-search tactics, said that she was “angry and annoyed” after being stopped by Metropolitan Police officers in the London borough of Hackney. Butler said that since being elected as a member of Parliament she has been stopped by police numerous times.
Labour MP Dawn Butler believes that she was a victim of racial profiling after being stopped by Metropolitan police officers while driving with a friend through east London on Sunday afternoon.
Police officers told the former shadow equalities minister, who filmed the encounter, that they had been stopped because the vehicle was registered to an address in Yorkshire.
Butler told Sky News that she was “angry and annoyed” by the incident, claiming that there is an “institutional racism” problem with the police that “needs to be taken out.”
I JUST GOT STOPPED BY THE POLICE DRIVING THROUGH HACKNEY… MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW…@metpoliceuk
I recorded the whole incident.
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾 (@DawnButlerBrent) August 9, 2020
She said: “We were stopped because we’re two black people driving in a nice car in Hackney.
“I’m angry because I know it happens all the time every day. And people don’t know why they’ve been stopped.
“If you’re profiling cars because they’re not from the area that’s a ridiculous way to police. If you’re stopping cars because of the make, that’s a ridiculous way to police. And if you’re stopping cars because of the colour of the people inside them, that’s racist.”
The Metropolitan Police issued a statement following the incident that occurred at around midday on 9 August.
“Prior to stopping the vehicle, an officer incorrectly entered the registration into a police computer which identified the car as registered to an address in Yorkshire.
“Upon stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, it quickly became apparent that the registration had been entered incorrectly and was registered to the driver in London.
“Once the mistake was realised the officer sought to explain this to the occupants; they were then allowed on their way.
“No searches were carried out on any individuals,” it said.
Chief Superintendent Roy Smith wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with Butler on the phone, who gave him a very balanced account of the incident.
I’ve just spoken with @DawnButlerBrent by phone. She has given me a very balanced account of the incident. She was positive about one officer & gave feedback on others & the stop. We are listening to those concerns & Dawn is quite entitled to raise them. https://t.co/q9m6SPFAvv
— Chief Supt Roy Smith (@roysmithpolice) August 9, 2020
Last month the Metropolitan Police referred itself to an independent watchdog following widespread criticism after pulling over two black athletes in their car.
British sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos were stopped by officers on their way home from training.
Video footage showing Williams handcuffed and distressed sparked widespread accusations of racial profiling and concerns about racism in the police force.