Labour MP Dawn Butler accuses police of racially profiling her after calling on commissioner Cressida Dick to resign
Labour MP Dawn Butler says she was racially profiled by police just 24 hours after she called for lesbian police commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.
Butler was in a car with a Black male friend yesterday (9 August) in Hackney, London, when they were pulled over by police. The former equalities shadow minister recorded the incident on her phone.
In the recorded footage, Butler can be heard telling the two police officers that they were creating “animosity” by stopping and racially profiling Black people.
“The other police officer came and said, ‘I can’t see what’s in the back of your car.’ You don’t need to see what’s in the back of the car, why do you need to see what’s in the back of the car? What is that about?” Butler said after the incident.
“There is an institutional racism in the police, we know that, and it needs to be taken out,” Butler added.
“It is cancerous and it needs to be cut out of the police force. And it’s urgent. It’s absolutely urgent.”
Butler said she had not been planning on making the incident public until the second officer “inflamed the situation so much”.
“I was getting irritated and angry at the way she was approaching me,” Butler added.
Dawn Butler urged police to deal with issues in an ‘equitable’ way.
“It’s just such a bad way to treat people. It is just tiring and exhausting and mentally draining, and this is a police service that’s supposed to police everyone. And I understand that there are issues and they need to be dealt with, but deal with it in an equitable way, don’t deal with it in an unfair way and a biased way or a racist way.
“Deal with it properly, and we can all be on board with that.”
The Labour MP said that Britain is “not a police state” and said people have the right to drive wherever they want.
“It’s a free country, so the police have to examine what’s going on, and we have to work together,” she said.
“I want to work with police to get this right. It’s imperative and it is important, and we need to do that.”
There is an institutional racism in the police, we know that, and it needs to be taken out.
She added: “If you’re profiling cars because they’re not from the area that’s a ridiculous way to police. If you’re stopping cars because of the make that’s a ridiculous way to police. And if you’re stopping cars because of the colour of the people inside them, that’s racist.”
The Met Police said in a statement that Butler and her friend were pulled over after their registration number was incorrectly inputted into a police computer, which flagged that the vehicle was registered in Yorkshire.
“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.”
Labour MP called on lesbian police commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.
The incident occurred just a day after Dawn Butler called on lesbian police commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.
“Cressida Dick appears to be incapable of tackling the institutional racism in the police, and incapable of showing solidarity with those people who suffer from it most,” Butler tweeted.
Butler went on to share an article she had written for Metro in which she outlined her own experiences of mistreatment at the hands of police.
She recounted a number of disturbing incidents where people of colour had been profiled and mistreated by police.
“In case anyone doubts the experiences of people of colour, the statistic are stark. The Met are four times more likely to use force on Black people,” Butler wrote.
“They have stopped and searched the equivalent of one in four young Black men in London during lockdown.”
Butler went on to write that she has “no faith” in Cressida Dick, and criticised the police commissioner for claiming that “institutionally racist” is not a “useful way to describe” the police force.
“Cressida Dick appears to be incapable of tackling this long-known problem, and incapable of showing solidarity with those people who suffer from it the most, so she should resign.”
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Butler continued: “It is not something I call for easily. I know too that the word ‘racist’ often scares people, but it does not mean every officer is racist – nor am I calling Cressida Dick racist.
“It’s the Met Police organisation that is structurally racist and she is in charge of it.
“We need her to tackle it, not deny our lived experiences or make excuses.”