Labour MP Dawn Butler was pulled over by police while driving - here’s why she has accused them of racial profiling

Monday, 10th August 2020, 3:20 pm
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 3:20 pm
Dawn Butler took part in the most recent Labour leadership contest (Getty Images)
Dawn Butler took part in the most recent Labour leadership contest (Getty Images)

Labour MP Dawn Butler has called for systemic change to the UK police force after she was pulled over while travelling in a car in East London.

The former Shadow Equalities Manager accused the police who targeted her of racial profiling. 

In the wake of the incident she said, "It's about time we changed the system so it works for everyone and it's effective.”

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The Metropolitan Police has since released a statement. 

Why was Dawn Butler pulled over? 

The MP for Brent Central was a passenger in a car being driven by a black male friend, when she was pulled over by two police cars. 

Police confiscated the driver’s keys as they ran a check on the vehicle, which they say was registered in North Yorkshire. Officers then say they made a mistake, and that the vehicle was in fact registered to the driver in question. 

Butler says she doesn't know why officers were suspicious. In footage recorded by Butler, police could be heard saying they were carrying out stops due to “gang and knife crime.”

She is then heard telling 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."

Speaking to the BBC, she said, "I still don't know why they punched the number plate into the system.

"I don't know what raised their suspicion. All I know is I'm black, my friend was black and he has a fairly decent car."

What has Dawn Butler said? 

Dawn Butler said that the incident was an obvious case of racial profiling. 

Speaking to the Press Association she said, "We know that the police is institutionally racist and what we have to do is weed that out. We have to stop seeing black with crime. We have to stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime."

She added, "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. It's exhausting and I'm tired of it."

Butler says this is the third time that she has been pulled over as an MP. She has previously criticised the police force for their use of stop-and-search tactics. 

Met Police statement

The Metropolitan Police has since issued a statement on the incident.

It 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. 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.

“One of the occupants has since been contacted by a senior officer and they have discussed the stop, subsequent interaction as well as feedback regarding the stop. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with the occupants if they wish to do so.”