The family of a 24-year-old black man shot by officers in the Metropolitan Police have demanded that a criminal investigation into his death be opened amidst revelations that he was unarmed at the time of the incident. Chris Kaba was killed on September 5, 2022, by a single shot fired from a police issue firearm following an attempted vehicle stop in the Kirstall Gardens area of Streatham Hill in South London. His family have called for ‘answers and accountability’ from the police watchdog responsible for the investigation into this death.
A statement issued via the legal charity INQUEST confirmed that ‘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.’ The family issued an additional appeal ‘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.’
Deborah Coles, the director of INQUEST, expressed support for the family’s calls for a criminal investigation. ‘When the police kill, they must be held accountable to the rule of law. INQUEST fully supports the family’s call for this to be a criminal investigation from the outset. It is essential that fatal use of force by police is examined with this high level of scrutiny.’ In addition to the IOPC investigation, Kaba’s death is also expected to be subject to an inquest in due course.
‘We understand at this stage that police officers in an armed response vehicle attempted to stop the vehicle Mr Kaba was in, following the activation of an automatic number plate recognition camera which indicated the vehicle was linked to a firearms incident in the previous days,’ said the IOPC in an update to the investigation published yesterday. ‘A detailed search of the scene and surrounding area was completed last night. No non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or scene.’
The IOPC also confirmed that it had met with Mr Kaba’s family to explain their role and update them on the progress of their investigation. At present, the IOPC is due to complete a forensic examination of the vehicle Mr Kaba was driving and of some of the police vehicles involved, which have been removed from the scene and taken to a secure location.
Sal Naseem, the Regional Director for London at the IOPC, said the watchdog was committed to carrying out a thorough and comprehensive investigation to ascertain the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting. ‘We recognise that there is community concern following this incident and we appreciate that questions will remain around how Mr Kaba tragically ended up being fatally shot following an attempted vehicle stop.’
‘While we have already undertaken some door-to-door enquiries in the neighbourhood, there is likely to be members of the public we are yet to speak to which may have information that could assist our investigation. Anyone with information that may be useful in helping us to paint the picture of the events that evening is asked to contact the IOPC by phoning 0300 303 0779 or by emailing email@example.com – referencing “Streatham Hill”.’