Chris Kaba headshot

Chris Kaba shooting: Police watchdog to examine whether race “influenced” police actions

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will investigate whether race “influenced” the fatal shooting of Chris Kaba in Lambeth earlier this month.

Kaba, 24, was shot by armed police on Monday 5 September after his vehicle was stopped in Streatham Hill.

The IOPC launched a homicide investigation into the shooting last week and suspended the Met Police officer involved in the death a few days later.

In a stament released by the IOPC on Friday 16 September, the police watchdog said: “When a person dies in these circumstances, the law requires us to conduct a wide-ranging independent investigation.

“Therefore, we must explore all of the circumstances surrounding Mr Kaba’s death including: how the officers came to be aware of the vehicle Mr Kaba was driving; if they had any prior knowledge of Mr Kaba; and their decision-making and actions on the 5 September.

“We will also examine whether or not Mr Kaba’s race influenced any actions taken by the police.”

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said that the investigation is expected to take “six to nine months,” and explained that the watchdog has been in further touch with Kaba’s family.

He added: “We understand that people want answers quickly, but this is a complex investigation involving a significant amount of evidence.

“There are a number of enquiries to carry out over the coming weeks and months, including expert analysis, and it is important that we allow our investigation to run its course as we seek to establish all of the facts.

“As this is a criminal investigation, we will continue to be limited in what details we can release as we can’t risk prejudicing any proceedings that may follow. Given this is a homicide investigation, we are liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and we have already had discussions with the Senior Coroner and his officers.”

Last weekend, thousands of protestors took to the streets of central London over the weekend, led by Kaba’s family who called for the suspension.

Assistant Commissioner Amanda Pearson said: “Following the death of Chris Kaba, the firearms officer involved has been suspended from duty.

“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.

Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Kaba’s family and friends. We understand how concerned communities are, particularly Black communities, and thank those who are working closely with our local officers.

“We are actively supporting the IOPC investigation and would ask those with information that could be useful in establishing what happened to contact the IOPC directly to maintain the independence of their investigation.

“The decision to suspend the officer does not determine the outcome of the IOPC investigation.

“Firearms officers serve to protect the public and know that on the rare occasions when they discharge their weapons, they will face intense scrutiny. I know this development will have a significant impact on the officer and colleagues.”

There have been 1,833 deaths following contact with the police in England and Wales since 1990, according to INQUEST, a charity providing expertise on state-related deaths and their investigation to bereaved families.

Deborah Coles, the director of INQUEST, said: “The disproportionality in the use of force against black people adds to the irrefutable evidence of structural racism embedded in policing practices.”

The vehicle was stopped following the activation of an automatic number plate recognition camera which indicated the car had been linked to a firearms offence in the previous days.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the IOPC by phoning 0300 303 0779 or by emailing [email protected] – referencing “Streatham Hill”.

Featured image credit: INQUEST Lawyers Group members Daniel Machover of Hickman and Rose

Related Articles