More than £37,000 has been raised to help support two former Metropolitan Police officers, a day after they were sacked over the disruption and investigation of two black Olympic athletes.
The money has been pledged on a JustGiving crowdfunding page, which says the aim is to raise £50,000 to “support officers and their families” in “a period of great austerity”.
Former constables Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks were sacked on Wednesday after a disciplinary panel found their actions during a “very concerning” stop and investigation into Team GB athlete Bianca Williams, 29, and her partner, the Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos, 28 years old. amounted to a serious offence.
They were found to have lied about smelling cannabis when they ran into the couple on July 4, 2020.
By 10pm on Thursday, around 1,798 backers had pledged £37,241 to the fund, which has also drawn criticism online.
Police followed the athletes as they drove home in west London from training with their then three-month-old baby in the back seat of their Mercedes.
They were accused of racially profiling the pair along with their fellow Met officers Acting Police Sergeant Rachel Simpson, Pc Allan Casey and Pc Michael Bond – who were found not to have breached any standards.
The breach panel heard they followed Mr Dos Santos in their police vehicle because of the “abhorrent” and “suspicious” nature of his driving and were carrying out their duty when they carried out the stop and search.
The pair were handcuffed and searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons after being pulled from their property, but nothing was found.
During his testimony, Mr. Dos Santos accused the officers of pulling him over for “DWB, driving while black.”
The hearing was told Mr Dos Santos was stopped nine times within four weeks of buying a car in 2018.
Ms Williams wept as she watched footage of Mr Dos Santos being pulled from the driver's seat on the side of the road and handcuffed.
Author Alice Weeden, a former officer, condemned the donations in a tweet in which she said officers were “fired for lying about smelling cannabis during a stop and frisk on a black couple and their baby. Is this what we do now? To raise money for fake cops?'
The crowdfunding page, which says the officers were made redundant without warning, says: “This comes at a time of great austerity where both will be affected by mortgage payments, food bills and the general cost of living.
“Despite people's personal views on this decision. this page has been created solely to support officers and their families at this difficult time. Therefore, please refrain from viewing them on this platform.
“Every penny will go towards supporting the officers and their families.
“Any support would be greatly appreciated.”
Messages left on the fundraising page described the situation as “scandalous appeasement and scapegoating” and it is “an absolute joke of a country”.
Another message commented “stop destroying this once great police service that is the envy of the world”.
Earlier this year, Ms Williams won bronze in the 4x100m at the World Athletics Championships. Mr dos Santos competed at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the 400m.
After the decision, Mrs Williams told the BBC: “It shouldn't have taken three years to get to this result, but I'm delighted that this is the result and this is, as I said, a huge step in the right direction for people. who keep getting stopped by the police and have the same old excuse of smelling cannabis when nothing has been found.”
She fought back tears as she added: ‘It fills me with so much emotion, even now.
“It's very difficult, even just driving the car, whenever I see a police car, I'm always looking, I'm always on edge because who knows what they're going to do? Who knows if they'll follow me now.”
After the verdict, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward said the couple “deserved better and I apologize for the distress they have suffered”.
He said: “Honesty and integrity are at the core of policing and, as the panel concluded, there can be no place in the Met for officers who do not uphold these values.”
He added that the commission's findings underscore that they “still have a long way to go to earn the trust of our communities, particularly our black communities, when it comes to the use of stop and search.”