A protest for Chris Kaba, who was killed last week, took place over the weekend
Update: The Metropolitan Police just charged a police officer accused of shooting Kaba with murder. They have been suspended from duty. Here’s everything you need to know about the case that first rocked the country a year ago.
This explainer was originally published on September 12, 2022.
Chris Kaba’s death last week has shaken people across the UK.
The 24-year-old man was shot dead by police in London last Monday night [September 5, 2022] after the car he was driving was found to be connected to a firearms incident.
Kaba was due to become a father, and was a rapper known as Madix or Mad Itch with the drill group 67. A criminal investigation into his death is now under way, and hundreds marched calling for justice for the murdered man on Saturday [September 10, 2022] – although the government are yet to comment.
Here’s everything you need to know.
An Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera found that the Audi being driven by Kaba was linked to a firearms incident in previous days.
The car was subsequently rammed and boxed in by two police cars in the residential road of Kirkstall Gardens, in Streatham Hill on Monday, September 5.
Kaba then died after a specialist firearms officer – who was taken off operational duties and later suspended – fired a single gunshot through the driver’s side of the windscreen.
No gun was found in the vehicle, and the car was later found not to be registered in Kaba’s name.
According to the watchdog Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), officers immediately gave CPR and requested support from the ambulance services, but he later died in hospital.
After the incident, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Amanda Pearson said she “absolutely understands that this shooting is a matter of grave concern, particularly for our Black communities”.
She added that firearms officers have a “difficult and often dangerous” job, claiming: “I don’t underestimate the impact on them of this development.”
Kaba’s mother, Helen Nkama, told the BBC last Wednesday [September 7, 2022]: “My heart is broken. I am speechless.”
Chris Kaba's parents, Prosper Kaba and Helen Nkama seen during the demonstration demanding for justice for Chris Kaba on Saturday
His family said they “need answers” and “accountability” as they called for an official investigation into Kaba’s death.
They added: “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.”
They also said that they want a charging decision in “weeks or a few months, not years” and the suspension of the firearms officer responsible, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Kaba’s relatives pointed out that action needed to be delivered on a “timescale that delivers justice to all concerned” to restore public confidence.
The family added: “We do not want any delay as has happened in other fatal shootings – otherwise we and the wider public can have no confidence that the police will be held to account.”
Since this statement last week, it’s been confirmed that the incident is being looked into as a homicide by the IPOC.
As of Monday September 12, it was reported that the officer responsible for firing the fatal shot had been suspended from frontline duties.
“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,” Pearson said.
Meanwhile, No.10 is refusing to comment on the incident at all, due the current period of national mourning for the Queen.
Floral tributes are left in Kirkstall gardens following the shooting of Chris Kaba, also know as the rapper Madix on September 8, 2022
Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy along with rapper Stormzy were just three among the huge gathering of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday, calling for justice for Kaba.
The march began in Parliament Square and ended up outside Scotland Yard.
During a speech to the protesters, Stormzy said: “Everyone here today, I would encourage everyone to have stamina, and I know it’s a very difficult thing to say… But when these people do these things, they get away with it, because what happens is we do this once, we get tired, we tweet, we get tired, we do it for a week, we do it for two weeks, we do it for a month, and they know we get tired.
“What they’ve done is they’ve killed someone. We can’t sugarcoat it.”
Abbott addressed demonstrators too, and said: “I don’t know how I would feel if it was my own son killed in cold blood.
“[Chris] is not the only Black man gunned down by the Metropolitan Police.”
Protesters hold placards expressing their opinion during the rally on Saturday
The march through central London saw demonstrators hold up signs with messages including, “Justice for Chris Kaba” and “Black Lives Matter”.
When an aerial shot showing the huge group appeared during their live coverage of the Queen’s death, an anchor tried to describe the scene by saying: “There are thousands of people lining that route, it really is an incredible sight.
“They’ll work their way up the Mall, very slowly, meeting new friends along the way, talking about their journey here, their memories of the Queen, their good wishes for the new King.”
Sky News later clarified that the shot had shown a march for Kaba live on air.
A spokesperson went on to tell the i news outlet: “We apologise for a mistake made earlier today which accidentally misidentified aerial pictures of a protest march for Chris Kaba as a large gathering paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
“We have also issued a correction on air to clarify the footage previously shown.”
I am lost for words.
Sky News reporting the Justice for Chris Kaba march as a tribute walk for the Queen's death.
— Franklin Saint (@loyih92) September 10, 2022
What happens next?
The IOPC – an independent body which examines complaints against the police in England and Wales – is looking into police footage and CCTV from the area, as well as following up on house-to-house inquiries.
The IOPC said the firearms officer who fired the shot which hit Kaba is under criminal investigation – but that doesn’t necessarily mean “that they will end up facing criminal charges or a misconduct hearing” – although they have now been suspended.
IOPC’s London regional director Sal Naseem said: “When the police use fatal force, it is important that there is a robust, independent investigation to establish all of the circumstances surrounding what happened.
“It is natural that the community wants answers quickly but I would ask that people refrain from speculation that may be unhelpful to all those affected.”
The IOPC also said: “As this is now a criminal investigation, we are limited in what further information we can provide.”
A post-mortem which will determine the cause of death is due to take place.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised he will “continue to push” for answers and has welcomed the suspension of the firearms officer.
The IOPC have launched a homicide investigation into Chris Kaba’s death. My statement: pic.twitter.com/Xk4UCiTvLq
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) September 9, 2022