Chris Kaba, 24, was fatally shot by a firearms officer from the Metropolitan Police (‘Officer NX121’) shortly after 10pm on 5 September 2022 in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, London. His death prompted significant public outcry.
The police watchdog (the Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC) is conducting a homicide investigation into the fatal shooting.
Six months on, Chris’ family are still waiting for answers and action. Their three key asks since his death have been:
- Officer NX121 be interviewed under caution. It is believed that this has now taken place.
- 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).
- 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.
In a joint statement, the family of Chris Kaba said:
“For the past six months our primary questions as a family have been: why did this happen and who will be held accountable?
We were told that we would have to wait six to nine months before these questions could begin to be answered. For a grieving family, already that was too long. We are still waiting.
The police watchdog have had enough time to gather evidence and take steps towards seeking CPS advice on criminal charges for those involved in Chris’ death. Yet we are still waiting.
As a family we urge the IOPC to take immediate action to progress advice on criminal charges, and the Crown Prosecution Service to provide this advice without any further delay.
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.”
Lucy McKay, spokesperson for INQUEST, said:
“There has rightly been significant public concern about the circumstances of Chris Kaba’s death. This is both in relation to Chris’ 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 officers involved in Chris’ 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 be waiting 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.”
Notes to editor: For more information, photos and interview requests contact Lucy McKay on email@example.com or 020 7263 1111.
On Saturday 4 March, the family are hosting a community day in Streatham to give thanks to the community who have supported them so far. This will be followed by a vigil in Kirkstall Gardens from 9-10pm. More information here.
Chris’s family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Daniel Machover and Ellie Cornish of Hickman & Rose solicitors, and Matthew Ryder KC and Ifeanyi Odogwu of Matrix Chambers.
Previous media releases:
- Chris Kaba: Family Call For Answers As Inquest Opens 4 October 2022
- Chris Kaba: Family Respond To Media Reports 23 September 2022
- Chris Kaba: Latest Family Statement 22 September 2022
- Streatham Police Shooting: Family Of Chris Kaba Demand Criminal Investigation 7 September 2022