Labour MP Dawn Butler dismisses ‘racist trolls’ with ‘conspiracy theories’ about police stop incident

A Labour MP who has accused the Metropolitan Police of racially profiling her has told Sky News: “This cannot continue”.

Dawn Butler, who represents Brent Central in northwest London, said police officers stopped her “black male friend” who was driving a “nice car” and questioned her while she was in the passenger seat.

She recorded the incident in Hackney, in which officers are heard saying they were searching the area because of “gang and knife crime”.

In a tweet on Monday morning, the MP dismissed “racist trolls” who are “going crazy with conspiracy theories” surrounding the stop.

During the video of the incident, 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.”

One of the officers tells her: “I appreciate everything you say and I do apologise for wasting your time.”

The Met Police said in a statement that an officer had “incorrectly entered” the registration into a police computer which identified the car as registered to an address in Yorkshire.

“Once the mistake was realised the officer sought to explain this to the occupants; they were then allowed on their way,” the statement continued.

“No searches were carried out on any individuals.”

Speaking to Kay Burley @ Breakfast, Ms Butler said the incident “left me scratching my head”.

She said: “Driving on a public road – where else would we be driving? To make sure we’re in the area for the right reason – we were driving through.

“I wasn’t actually going to eat in Hackney, but there are some nice places to eat in Hackney. None of this made sense.

“But I think, in a way, it shows you the bias and the assumption that happens when you see black people, in a car, driving – that they’re automatically saying that we need to check that these people are here for the right reason. That they’re not criminals.

“We need to change that. We need to change that thinking and that’s going to take a lot of effort and it needs to be done quickly.”

Ms Butler added: “This cannot continue. In the light of Black Lives Matter, what we’re trying to do is dismantle the structural racism that takes place.”

The MP said her experience is one that “happens to black people every single day”.

She added: “This happens to black men every single day, whether they’re walking, driving or on a bike. It happens every single day.”

Asked about the incident, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The police have made a statement saying that they made a mistake.

“They have spoken to the occupants of the car but it’s obviously very, very important that the Met continue to do everything that they can – as indeed they do – to show that they are serving every part of our country, every part of our community, with fairness and equality.”

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation into whether officers in England and Wales racially discriminate against ethnic minority people.

There is a disparity rate of 4.3 for all black, Asian and minority ethnic people and 9.7 for black people, according to the latest official statistics.

Asked by Sky News about claims that the video had been doctored in some way, Ms Butler said: “It just made me think of the length that people will go to excuse racism away or discrimination away or injustice away.

“It just shocked me. Why would I flip my camera? I pressed record and I was recording. I turned the camera when I had to record the police officer. There was no flipping of the camera.”

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