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Dawn Butler says she was racially profiled after being stopped by police

Harper's Bazaar (UK) logo Harper's Bazaar (UK) 10/08/2020 The Editors
The Labour MP was stopped while travelling in a car © Christopher Furlong The Labour MP was stopped while travelling in a car

Dawn Butler claims she was victim of racial profiling after she was stopped by the police while travelling in a car in London.

The Labour MP, who has been open about the UK's systemic racism problem before, was being driven by another black friend in a BMW when two police cars pulled them over. Butler demanded that the police "stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime".

The MP for Brent Central said that the police has told her and the driver that the car was registered in North Yorkshire and took the vehicle cars while checking the registration. Officers then admitted that they'd made a mistake, that it was registered to the driver, and apologised.

Butler filmed the incident, which took place on Sunday, 9 August, and footage shows a policeman telling Butler that they were carrying out searches because of "gang and knife crime".

"It's obviously racial profiling," Butler told Press Association. "We know that the police is institutionally racist and what we have to do is weed that out. We have to stop seeing black with crime. We have to stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime."

Last month, Butler was forced to close her Willesden office after she and her staff received racist threats after she spoke out about the Black Lives Matter movement. Threats ranged from violent verbal abuse to bricks being thrown threw her office windows.

Dawn Butler sitting at a desk in front of a computer: Dawn Butler at her desk in 2018 © Nicola Tree Dawn Butler at her desk in 2018

A statement from the police said of Sunday's incident: "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."

In July, the Met apologised to Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner after they were pulled over and handcuffed in front of their young son. Nothing was found in the search and the Met referred itself to the police watchdog.

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