Thousands of protestors marched to the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service on Saturday to call for justice following the shooting of unarmed Chris Kaba. Mr Kaba’s family, who wore t-shirts saying “Justice 4 Chris Kaba” to the protest, called for the immediate suspension of the Metropolitan Police officer involved in his fatal shooting. The Met has since confirmed the officer has been suspended, following the launch of a police watchdog homicide inquiry into the shooting.
The family of Chris Kaba who died after being shot by an officer from The Metropolitan Police on Monday night are calling for peace today as they call for justice. pic.twitter.com/anzSLFkvzR
— Greg McKenzie (@GregMcTweets) September 10, 2022
Mr Kaba, a 24-year-old who was expecting a child with his fiancée, was shot dead by a police firearms officer in Streatham, London, last Monday. It has been reported that he was shot through the windscreen of a car he was driving after police rammed and boxed the car in. The Met has said that the car was stopped because its number plate was recognised to have been linked to a firearms incident several days earlier.
Mr Kaba’s father, Prosper Kaba, told the BBC that the killing was “totally racist”. In a statement, Mr Kaba’s family said: “We are worried that if Chris had not been Black, he would have been arrested on Monday evening and not had his life cut short.”
The killing has sparked outcry from anti-racism groups. Black Lives Matter UK said: “The fatal shooting of Chris Kaba has shaken and outraged people across our communities. It is devastating to see yet another Black person’s life taken by the police, however not surprising, since we are more than twice as likely to die during or following police contact.”
It added: “Now is the time for action – we should be turning out to show solidarity with Kaba’s family and all those organising against racist policing.”
The Black Equity Organisation said that the killing had “once again broken the hearts of Black people across the country”. It said that 3,000 people took part in the march to stand in solidarity with Mr Kaba’s family.
Protest steward Lee Jasper, who was a political advisor to the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, called on the new Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley to ensure that Mr Kaba was the last Black man killed by the police.
Officer suspended following calls
Last night, the Met confirmed it had suspended the firearms officer who fired the fatal shot.
Amanda Pearson, an Assistant Commissioner at The Met, said: “This decision has been reached following careful consideration of a number of factors, including the significant impact on public confidence, and in light of the Independent Office for Police Conduct announcing a homicide investigation.”
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, and Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, had joined the family’s calls for suspension.
They said on Sunday: “This is a matter which could not be more serious. A young man has lost his life and our sympathies are with his parents and his family. It is incomprehensible that the officer who killed Chris Kaba is not suspended. The family, the local community and we as MPs want to see a swift response in recognition of the utmost seriousness of this.”
The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), launched a homicide investigation into the shooting on Friday ahead of the protest.
An outpouring of anger and sadness at the police killing of Chris Kaba. A community showing solidarity and support with his family & demanding truth, justice and accountability & an end to police violence and impunity. ##JusticeForChrisKaba pic.twitter.com/RD70LJtY3c
— Deborah Coles (@DebatINQUEST) September 10, 2022
In response, Mr Kaba’s family said: “Public confidence in the police and our justice system requires the IOPC and CPS [Criminal Prosecution Service] to find a way to make decisions in this case on a timescale that delivers justice to all concerned. Avoidable delay is unacceptable.”
Pearson said: “The Met is co-operating fully as the IOPC work to independently establish the full circumstances surrounding the shooting.”
Right to life
Under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the state, including the police, cannot kill people except in specific circumstances where it is deemed ‘absolutely necessary’ – like stopping them harming someone else. If a person dies in circumstances that involve the state, their family may have the right to an investigation.
A fundraiser has been set up by Mr Kaba’s cousin to support his family in campaigning “to bring the culprits to justice”.