UK Police Watchdog Says Rapper, 24, Shot by Police in London Was Unarmed

UK Police Watchdog Says Rapper, 24, Shot by Police in London Was Unarmed
A forensics officer takes photographs of the scene where 24 year old Chris Kaba was killed by police in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, south London, on Sept. 5, 2022. (PA)
Chris Summers

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said in a statement on Sept. 7 that a detailed search of the scene where a 24-year-old man was killed by police in south London on Sept. 5 had been completed, “No non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene.”

Chris Kaba, a rapper with the drill group 67, was pursued by an armed response vehicle as he drove his Audi through Streatham, south London.

Eyewitnesses said the car was blocked in by police vehicles in Kirkstall Gardens before Kaba was shot by a police marksman.

The IOPC issued a statement, saying: “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.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London said in a post on Twitter: “It’s right the IOPC are undertaking an investigation into the shooting of Chris Kaba, who we now have confirmation was unarmed.”

Kaba, who came from Wembley, north west London, was a member of 67, a Streatham-based rap group that had been nominated for a MOBO music award.

In 2019 two other members of 67—Cassiel Wuta-Ofei, 27, and Malki Martin, 24—were jailed for nine years for dealing heroin and crack cocaine in Hampshire.
Kaba’s family demanded a homicide investigation be launched and his mother, Helen Nkama, told the BBC: “My heart is broken. I am speechless.”

Kaba’s Family Question If Race Was a Factor

The family issued a statement, through the charity Inquest, in which they said: “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.”

Claudia Webbe, the MP for Leicester East, wrote on Twitter: “Another Black man shot dead and nothing said. The police seem to have learnt nothing from the shooting dead of Mark Duggan. RIP Chris Kaba.”

Webbe, 57, was expelled from the Labour Party on Nov. 3, 2021, after having been convicted of harassing a love rival in October 2021. She lost her appeal against the conviction in May.

In 2011 Mark Duggan, a member of the Tottenham Man Dem gang, was shot dead by police in north London, triggering a wave of riots across the capital.

In that case a gun was found in bushes near the scene of the shooting and the IOPC’s predecessor, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, cleared the police of wrongdoing and said Duggan was probably throwing the gun away when he was shot by an officer.

An inquest jury found Duggan had been lawfully killed.

The Sept. 7 IOPC statement said a detailed forensic examination would be carried out on Kaba’s car as well as some of the police vehicles involved in the incident.

According to the statement IOPC’s regional director, Sal Naseem, said they were committed to a full investigation to establish all the facts: “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 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,” he added.

PA Media contributed to this report.
Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.
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