Socialist Worker

Stop and search shows reality of cops’ racism

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2712

Black Lives Matter protesters call for an end to stop and search

Black Lives Matter protesters call for an end to stop and search (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Behind the soothing statements about taking black lives seriously, institutional racism is as strong as ever.

Evidence has emerged of how police stopped and searched Ryan Colaco aggressively, handcuffed him and smashed his car window. He was driving home after giving a television interview—about an aggressive police stop and search.

In the original incident in north London on 23 May, Colaco said he was stopped after being “aggressively tailgated” by the Metropolitan police. Cops then ran to his car and banged on his window. They later said they had been able to smell cannabis from his car.

Colaco was forced into handcuffs. Police searched him, while others combed through his car and found nothing.

“I’ve never in my life ever handled or taken any drug,” Colaco said. “I felt like they were just trying to incriminate me. After the way I’ve been treated over the years, I don’t trust them. They stop you and then find a reason to justify their stop.”

Colaco said he had been searched about 20 times, but did not have a criminal record.

As he questioned why City of London police officers wanted to search him, after they had alleged he was “dashing stuff up in his waistband”, footage shows his car window being smashed in.

“There were two officers at first—within minutes I was surrounded,” Colaco said. “It was a very intimidating situation. Clearly nothing was in my waistband.

“My safety was not taken into consideration when they broke that window. I told him I would come out, but just didn’t want to be put in handcuffs.”

Britain’s not innocent—a history of racist cops
Britain’s not innocent—a history of racist cops
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Officers dragged him from his car and forced him to the ground.

They hit his head against the ground before he was thrown face-first against a wall, Colaco said, causing him severe headaches. He was handcuffed and strip-searched before spending hours in a cell before being released about 12 hours later, with nothing having been found.

In another example of how the cops operate, two black athletes trained by former Olympic champion Linford Christie are considering legal action.

Police had stopped and handcuffed them while they were with their three month old son.

Video of the incident in west London last Saturday was posted by Christie on Twitter.

It showed officers telling the occupants of the vehicle, Ricardo dos Santos and Bianca Williams, that they were going to be searched. The obviously distressed Williams said repeatedly, “My son is in the car.”

Williams told The Times newspaper, “It’s always the same thing with Ricardo. They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis. It’s racial profiling.

“The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking.”

“Racist police aren’t just in America” tweeted Christie.

He added, “This type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any longer.”


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