‘OUR FAMILY CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER!’ says Kaba family six months after police killing

The YS/WRP banner calling for the police to be disbanded on a march after the killing of Chris Kaba

‘OUR FAMILY cannot wait any longer, ’ said the family of Chris Kaba yesterday, the six-months anniversary of the 24-year-old black man’s fatal shooting by a Metropolitan Police firearms officer in a stake-out shortly after 10pm on 5 September 2022 in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill south-west London.

On Saturday 4th March, the family hosted a Community Day in Streatham to thank the community who have supported them so much, followed by a vigil in Kirkstall Gardens from 9-10pm.

The police watchdog (the Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC) is conducting a homicide investigation into the fatal shooting.

Six months on, Chris’s family are still waiting for answers and action. Their three key asks since his death have been:

1. Officer NX121 be interviewed under caution. It is believed that this has now taken place.

2. An urgent decision on whether the officer/s involved will be charged with murder, manslaughter, or other charges. The family still await a decision from the IOPC on whether they will seek advice on criminal charges from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

3. Regular meaningful updates on the investigation. While the family have received updates, these have not been sufficiently frequent or meaningful.

An INQUEST report published last month found that families of black people who have died following police contact in recent years were unable to get accountability for racism from a system that is not ‘fit for purpose’. This case is an opportunity for these agencies to demonstrate change.

A joint statement from the family of Chris Kaba concluded: ‘We must never accept a young unarmed Black man being shot by police on the streets of London as normal. This should never have happened. It must never happen again.

‘Chris was so loved by our family and all his friends. He had a bright future ahead of him before his life was cut short. Alongside the community of supporters standing with us, our family cannot wait any longer.’

Helen Lumuanganu, the mother of Chris Kaba, added: ‘We have waited for six months already for the decision. We don’t want to wait for another six months. This, for us, is a painful reminder of something that will never change. Enough is enough.’

Lucy McKay, of INQUEST, said: ‘There has rightly been significant public concern about the circumstances of Chris Kaba’s death. This is both in relation to his death specifically and as part of the broader unacceptable pattern of disproportionate fatal use of force by police against black men.

‘INQUEST has found that the systems of investigation are failing to hold police officers and forces to account for deaths, and failing to examine the role of racism.

‘The police watchdog and Crown Prosecution Service must demonstrate change by urgently progressing this investigation and making charging decisions on the officers involved in Chris’s death.’

Daniel Machover of Hickman & Rose, who represent the family, said: ‘If a member of the public is killed by another member of the public who is known to the police on the day of the death, it would rightly be considered outrageous for the bereaved family to wait for more than five months for the criminal investigation to be completed. The IOPC is failing this family and the wider public by failing to complete its criminal investigation promptly.’