Chris Kaba: Black man shot dead by police was unarmed, watchdog says as family demand murder probe

Family of 24-year-old suggest he would have been arrested, not killed, if he was not black

Chris Baynes
Thursday 08 September 2022 15:37 BST

Related: Jayland Walker: Black man ‘unarmed’ when police shot him dead

A black man shot dead by police in south London was unarmed, a police watchdog has confirmed, as his family called for a murder investigation.

Chris Kaba, a rapper who 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 and the 24-year-old, from Wembley, was killed by one round fired by an officer.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said armed officers had pursued him after an automatic number plate recognition camera indicated the vehicle was linked to a firearms incident in the previous days.

The watchdog said “no non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene” following a detailed search of the area.

Mr Kaba’s 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.

Forensic teams were working at the scene in Streatham Hill on Tuesday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“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 IOPC said it had met with Mr Kaba’s family on Wednesday to update them on its investigation.

Sal Naseem, regional director of the watchdog, said: “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.

“We are working hard to piece together all of the circumstances surrounding this incident and we want to reassure the community that these questions will be answered in due course, however it will take some time before our investigation is able to uncover all of the facts. While these details are still being confirmed, we ask that the public avoid speculating about this incident out of respect for Mr Kaba’s family and for anyone else affected.”

Mr Kaba’s car and police vehicles involved in the chase have been taken to a secure location for a detailed forensic examination.

The IOPC said a Metropolitan Police probe into the firearms incident which the Audi was allegedly linked to was ongoing and “ it would not be appropriate to provide further information”.

The Met has 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 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)

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, from Wembley, west London, 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)

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.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: “When anyone loses their life as a result of police force, it's important it is properly and thoroughly investigated.

“It's right the IOPC are undertaking an investigation into the shooting of Chris Kaba, who we now have confirmation was unarmed.

“ The IOPC are fully aware of community concerns and the importance of transparency about this very serious incident. A community reference group is being brought together to improve local engagement.”

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