An inquest into the shooting of Chris Kaba in Streatham, South London, by a member of the Metropolitan Police last month has now commenced.
Words by Jago Bayley
The 24 year-old rapper was driving on the evening of Monday 5th September when he became involved in a police chase, leading to him being shot by an officer. This was because the vehicle Kaba was driving was “believed” to have been associated with a firearms incident the day before, the IOPC’s latest statement confirms.
The statement, read at the start of the inquest, has given greater detail upon the events which took place prior to Kaba’s death. It confirms that, on Monday the 5th September, Met police officers were made aware of the potentially-dangerous status of the vehicle in a briefing, but Kaba’s name was not included in this. He was thereby not a suspect (Guardian).
It has also become clear that the police vehicle with which the chase was initiated was unmarked, and no lights or sirens were used. After Kaba’s Audi took a left turn for Kirkstall Gardens, a marked police vehicle was already waiting on the street. The IOPC states that “contact” was made between the Audi and police vehicles, although it is unclear who instigated the contact. Armed officers proceeded to walk towards the Audi before one officer, referred to as NX121, shot Chris Kaba through the front windscreen. First aid was given by officers, but Kaba died later in hospital.
Speaking outside the Inner South London Coroner’s Court, Kaba’s cousin, Jefferson Bosela, said: “An urgent decision on criminal charges is critical for this family and many others to have faith in a system that is supposed to bring them justice” (BBC). He acknowledged the work of the IOPC in making new evidence public, stating: “every new fact is a step to justice for Chris”. Nonetheless, he echoed a recurrent criticism the family has made of the IOPC throughout this case; that it is taking too long to reach its conclusion (Guardian). The IOPCs statement details that the full investigation will take 6-9 months, and that the process is “ongoing”.
Chris Kaba’s death has sparked numerous protests across the UK. On back-to-back Saturdays, the 10th and 17th September, demonstrators gathered at Parliament Square and marched towards New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. Chants included Kaba’s name and “Black Lives Matter”. The rapper Stormzy, who has often condemned police brutality towards Black people in recent years, attended the protest on Saturday 10th. He said: ‘I just encourage everyone to have stamina. I know it’s a very difficult thing to say because no one should have the stamina to go on a journey like this to get justice or to get answers, but when these people do these things, they get away with it.”
The IOPC’s statement ends by affirming that dialogue will remain between the organisation and Kaba’s family. Evidence is still being collected, and so the family’s wait for justice ensues.