Ricardo dos Santos criticises UK police after car stopped for a second time

Ricardo dos Santos was also stopped by police in 2020. Ian Walton/Getty Images

London police said on Monday it had voluntarily referred itself to the conduct watchdog after armed officers stopped the car of a Black athlete in the capital for a second time.

Portuguese 400m runner Ricardo dos Santos was stopped in the early hours of Sunday by officers on a routine patrol who said they were concerned about a driver possibly using a phone at the wheel.

"The officers clearly indicated for the car to pull over but it failed to do so and they called for further assistance," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

It said the driver stopped five minutes later and the officers spoke to him about why they wanted to stop the car. While the statement did not identify dos Santos, the time and location of the incident matched those given by the athlete on social media.

Five British police officers are facing a gross misconduct hearing after a 2020 incident in which dos Santos and British sprinter Bianca Williams were stopped, searched and handcuffed in an incident that raised questions over the use of force and racial profiling.

The police in April apologised for the distress caused to the pair, who also had their baby son in the car.

In an interview on Tuesday, Dos Santos said he didn't feel safe driving around London after the latest incident.

The 27-year-old also said he had changed cars to a "family car" so he stood out "a lot less."

"The first thing I said to myself when I saw the car was, 'Is it going to happen?'," Dos Santos told the BBC.

"And every time I do see a police car when I'm driving I think, 'Is it going to happen this time? Will it happen this time? When is it going to happen again?"'

Dos Santos posted video clips of the latest incident on Twitter and said he had pulled over at the police request when it was safe to do so.

"Not surprised I had to go through this again," dos Santos said on Twitter.

"After I stopped, two officers ran towards either side of the car, one fist clenched banged on my window and tried opening the car door. Not knowing how to use a Tesla handle he took out his baton out of frustration ready to smash the glass," he added.

The Met statement said it was aware of footage on social media and had referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to the public interest in it.

The IOPC is an independent body that handles and investigates complaints made against police in England and Wales. Authorities can refer the cases to the watchdog whether or not a complaint has been made.