Family of man shot dead by police question role of race in events

·4-min read
A forensics officer at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
A forensics officer at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

The family of a rapper who was fatally shot by police have questioned whether his life would have been “cut short” if he were not black – as they demanded a murder investigation into his death.

Chris Kaba, who was due to become a father within months, died after a chase involving armed officers that ended in Streatham Hill, south London, on Monday night.

His Audi was hemmed in by two police cars in narrow residential street Kirkstall Gardens before one round was fired from a police weapon.

His family said on Wednesday they were “devastated” and needed “answers and accountability” over his death.

In a statement released through the charity Inquest, they said: “The family of Chris Kaba seek a homicide investigation into his death from the outset. We have today told the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) of that demand and that 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.

“We also want the IOPC to tell us whether or not a weapon was found in any search of the vehicle that Chris was driving. We have not received this information even though the shooting happened almost two days ago.

“Finally, we are desperately appealing for any witnesses, whether before, during or after the pursuit and the shooting, to come forward to the IOPC and/or to our solicitors at Hickman and Rose.

The scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
The scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

“We are devastated; we need answers and we need accountability. 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 Metropolitan Police earlier expressed its condolences to Mr Kaba’s loved ones, saying the force understood that “the family and community want answers”.

In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Commander Alexis Boon said the incident was “extremely concerning” and vowed the force would co-operate with the police watchdog in its aftermath.

The officer said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the man who died and I recognise the devastating and lasting impact this tragic incident will have on them.

“I understand that this incident is extremely concerning and I would like to reassure the community that the Met is co-operating fully with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as they carry out a thorough and independent investigation.”

Kim Alleyne, right, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba described events as ‘shocking and sad’ (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Kim Alleyne, right, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba described events as ‘shocking and sad’ (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

The shooting is being investigated by the IOPC, as is standard in deaths following police contact.

Prosper Kaba, Mr Kaba’s father, told BBC News: “Really we are shocked to see that in this century from a specialist of the law like police, can shortcut someone’s life, especially a young boy.”

Mother Helen Nkama, speaking through tears, said: “My heart is broken. I am speechless. My heart is broken.”

She added: “I need justice to be done for Chris.”

The pastor at a church which Mr Kaba attended as a child said there were discussions in the community about organising a vigil for him.

Reverend Siaa-Liane Mathurin, of New Park Road Baptist Church, said: “Chris came to the church when he was little. He was from round here, he lived just over the road.

“The community are scared. I’ve had young people come to me asking ‘why did they shoot him?’

“There are families who didn’t send their kids to school today.

“I’m speaking to community leaders about organising a demonstration or a vigil.”

Floral tributes left at the scene (Andrew Quinn/PA) (PA Wire)
Floral tributes left at the scene (Andrew Quinn/PA) (PA Wire)

Speaking at the scene on Tuesday, Kim Alleyne, 49, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba, said of him: “He was so loved. He was so funny. He was super kind. Crazy. He was always happy. He’d do anything for you.

“He was a fiance, he was due to get married in five months’ time. He’s got a baby on the way that he’s never going to see.

“It’s horrible and so shocking and so sad.”

Some paying tribute at the scene said Mr Kaba was a rapper known as Madix or Mad Itch 67.

Jefferson Bosela, 27, who was Mr Kaba’s cousin, said: “He was a good person, a good, happy guy. He didn’t deserve that. No-one deserves that.

“Nobody deserves to be shot by the police, whether they are a good person or a bad person.”