The police stop of Labour MP Dawn Butler was ‘rooted in bias’, the head of the National Black Police Association has said.
Inspector Andrew George said the incident on August 9 – where a car Ms Butler was travelling in was pulled over by police – was the result of ‘a biased system that views black people as criminals or drug dealers’.
The MP was travelling in a BMW with a friend in Hackney, in east London, when she was stopped by two white police officers.
In a video shot by Ms Butler, officers are heard telling both driver and passenger they were conducting ‘proactive patrols’ in the area. They stopped the car because it was registered to a North Yorkshire address, one of the officers said, later admitting he wrongly entered the car’s registration in the computer.
Inspector George – the association’s interim leader – told the Guardian: ‘We have to look at the processes which led to the stop being conducted’.
He added: ‘I would ask why a vehicle being registered in Yorkshire and driving in a global hub like London is enough, by itself, to warrant checking the owner details.
‘The very fact that the officer took the keys from the driver further reinforces the perception that they believed there was something suspicious which may have prompted the driver to make off from them.’
He said it was ‘heartening’ to see the officers speak to Ms Butler ‘respectfully and courteously’ but added that arbitrary stops ‘added to the hurt the black community is currently feeling’.
Ms Butler agreed that the officers were courteous but said the stop was ‘obviously racial profiling’. She called the Met ‘institutionally racist’ and said the officers’ reason for stopping them was ‘bogus’.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh has insisted officers did ‘absolutely nothing wrong’ and had ‘nothing to hide’.
Scotland Yard said the stop was a result of an officer having ‘incorrectly entered’ the car’s registration plate into a computer, but did not explain why the search was carried out in the first place.
The incident came one day after Ms Butler wrote for Metro.co.uk, to say that she had ‘no faith’ in Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick’s ability to tackle systemic racism in the force.
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