A Black Man Was Shot Dead by UK Police. His Family Wants Answers.

Rapper Chris Kaba, 24, was shot dead by police in a south London street. No non-police firearms have been recovered from the scene.
Max Daly
London, GB
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Chris Kaba. Photo: Inquest

The family of a Black man shot dead by police after a car chase in London have said his killing was “totally racist”. 

Chris Kaba, 24, a rapper with the drill group 67 who was due to become a father later this year, was killed following a police pursuit of his car because the vehicle had been linked to a recent firearms incident. 

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The Audi was stopped by two police cars in a back street in Streatham, south London, on Monday night before a police officer fired into the car. Police administered CPR but Kaba died in hospital. 

During a detailed search of the car and street on Tuesday no “non-police issue” firearm was found, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating the shooting.

“We can confirm that around 10pm, as armed officers attempted to stop and contain the vehicle, a single shot was discharged by a police officer. A detailed search of the scene and surrounding area was completed last night,” the IOPC said in a statement. “No non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene.”

Prosper Kaba, Chris’s father, told BBC News: “No-one can give any justification on why the police act. For us, it is totally racist and criminal and we want all the community, especially the minority community, to see this as a racism case.”

Crying, mother Helen Nkama said: "My heart is broken. I am speechless." 

In a statement given via the charity Inquest, the family demanded a criminal homicide investigation into their son’s death. “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 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.”

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According to Inquest, there have been 25 fatal police shootings in the UK in the last 10 years. In 2017, the year with the highest number of shootings, six people were shot dead by officers. The shooting of Kaba was the first fatal police shooting this year. 

In 2011 police shot and killed an unarmed Black man, Mark Duggan, in a taxi in Tottenham, north London. The killing, and the police’s obstructive behaviour in the aftermath, triggered the biggest riots in modern British history. Duggan, 29, was stopped by armed police because he was transporting a handgun in a shoebox. 

A public inquest concluded Duggan’s death was a “lawful killing” by police. Despite police claims he was armed, an inquest jury found he was not holding the weapon, recovered seven metres from the car, when he was shot. An investigation by forensic image experts later found police officers may have placed the gun on a patch of grass to make it look like it had been held and then thrown by Duggan before he was shot. 

Lambeth police commander Alexis Boon said in relation to Kaba’s killing: "I understand that this incident is extremely concerning and I would like to reassure the community that the Met is cooperating fully with the Independent Office for Police Conduct as they carry out a thorough and independent investigation. I also recognise that the family and community want answers about what happened.”

A peaceful protest is due to be held on Thursday in Brixton, south London.