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LABOUR MP Dawn Butler has accused the Metropolitan Police of racially profiling her after a car she was travelling in was stopped by officers over the weekend.
The former shadow equalities secretary revealed that the driver was pulled over by police in Hackney, east London, on Sunday.
Like her, the driver is black, though Ms Butler said that she has been forced to defend herself against “wild conspiracy theories” online, including that the driver is white.
Speaking to Sky News after the incident, the MP said: “There is an institutional racism in the police, we know that, and it needs to be taken out.
“It is cancerous and it needs to be cut out of the police force and it’s urgent.”
In footage recorded by Ms Butler, officers said that they were conducting searches in the area because of “gang and knife crime.”
In the clip, Ms Butler tells the officers: “It is really quite irritating. It’s like you cannot drive around and enjoy a Sunday afternoon whilst black, because you’re going to be stopped by police.”
Scotland Yard said that the stop was made because an officer entered the wrong registration number into a computer, falsely identifying it as a vehicle registered to Yorkshire, but did not explain why the search was carried out in the first place.
The Met said in a statement that “no searches were carried out on any individuals,” while commissioner Cressida Dick was forced to apologise for the “distress” caused.
In response to the incident, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that the police should treat people with “fairness and equality” in every part of the country and “our community.”
Downing Street said that Mr Johnson did not share Ms Butler’s view that the Met was “institutionally racist.”
But Ms Butler said of his comments: “The problem is that currently every part of the community is not being served with fairness and equality.
“The police are policing not on intelligence or reasonable suspicions, they are using bias and they are stereotyping and they are making assumptions.”
Labour MPs have offered their solidarity with Ms Butler.
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who did not comment on the incident until yesterday, tweeted: “It is imperative that the black community have trust and confidence in our police. The abuse Dawn has received over social media is wrong and must be condemned.”
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