Brent MP Dawn Butler accuses Met of ‘racial profiling’ following Hackney police stop

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central.

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central. - Credit: Archant

Brent Central’s MP Dawn Butler has accused police of racially profiling her after a vehicle she was travelling in was pulled over for questioning in Hackney.

Ms Butler was the passenger in a BMW driven by a friend who, like her, is black.

The Former Shadow Equalities Secretary is a vocal critic of stop and search. She said the police stop was an example of “obvious racial profiling”.

Ms Butler recorded a video of the incident at about midday on August 9 and the footage showed an officer saying police were carrying out searches because of “gang and knife crime”.

She told 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.”

READ MORE: Hundreds gather for Hackney Black Lives Matter vigil

Later, Scotland Yard released a statement which said: ““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.

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

In the video, one officer says the initial search returned a car of the same make, model and colour but registered to North Yorkshire. Brent Central’s MP Ms Butler then asked for the police to share the registration they initially searched for to see how it returned such a similar car.

Met police have not given a reason as to why the stop was carried out in the first place.

In an interview with the PA news agency the Labour MP called the police “institutionally racist” and later, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer showed his support for Ms Butler calling on police to take racial profiling “seriously”.

READ MORE: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer supports Dawn Butler MP with a call to take racial profiling ‘seriously’

READ MORE: Dawn Butler accuses Met of ‘racial profiling’ after being stopped and questioned while in a car with a friend

Police have been under fire recently since the death of George Floyd in police custody in America and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests.

“It’s exhausting doing things whilst black. Because you’re just doing every day things and you have to explain yourself away or justify the reason why you’re driving through Hackney,” she told PA.

“It’s exhausting and I’m tired of it.”

Ms Butler was recently named by Vogue magazine as one of the 25 most influential women shaping 2020 for her support of Black Lives Matter protests but says her backing of the anti-racism movement has led to threats of attack on her office and staff.

READ MORE: Community protest in support of Dawn Butler MP and condemn ‘unacceptable’ attacks towards her

The Labour MP also revealed that she has been stopped twice while driving “for no reason whatsoever”.