Hundreds of protesters gathered in Parliament Square today to mourn and voice their anger at the killing of 24-year -old Chris Kaba, an unarmed black man shot by armed police in Streatham on Monday.
The protesters marched to Trafalgar Square chanting “no justice, no peace” and “why does this keep happening to our people”.
The march then moved to Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police‘s headquarters, where speeches from family members were heard.
Huge turnout for the Chris Kaba @ukblm protest, the 24 year old black man shot by armed police in Streatham, Lambeth earlier this week. Starting in Parliament Square hundreds of protesters shouting “no justice, no peace. No racist police.” pic.twitter.com/I42D0SmZ51
— James Twomey (@jamesatwomey) September 10, 2022
The protest, organised in fewer than 24 hours, came a day after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it had launched a homicide investigation into Mr Kaba’s death.
But the police watchdog added that the criminal investigation did not necessarily mean a criminal charge would follow, a point that caused anger among the protesters.
The Met confirmed the officer under investigation is not currently on operational duties and a senior officer will consider their work status going forward.
One protester, Alan Dimbueni from Crystal Palace, said he met Mr Kaba when he was one week old as he was a family friend.
“It’s very shocking,” he said. “I saw Chris when he was a baby, we used to live near his family in Croydon. I had to bring my support for the family.
“It’s not the first time we have experienced this from the police, we’re here to show our concern. If we don’t it will carry on, we need justice.”
The decision to pursue a homicide investigation from the IOPC follows the few details released about the shooting, in which it was found that Mr Kaba had been unarmed when he was shot.
The IOPC statement said: “Mr Kaba died after a single shot was fired by an MPS officer from the specialist firearms command while police attempted to stop and contain the vehicle he was driving.
“This followed the activation of an automatic number plate recognition camera which indicated the vehicle was linked to a firearms incident in previous days. The vehicle Mr Kaba was driving was not registered to him.”
Speeches were given by family members and activists throughout the day of protest, notably outside Scotland Yard where Chris Kaba’s family spokesman, introduced as Jefferson, urged the community to pull together.
He said: “We shall discover the truth and ensure there is justice, not years from now but weeks from now.”
Another family member of Mr Kaba’s stood up and said her family were going through “constant pain”.
She said: “There’s no eating, no sleeping. After the funeral the fight still continues.”
She made a special plea to men in the community to stay safe and to “live”.
She added: “If you want to help the family and the community – live. We need you, we can’t do this alone. Do you want this to just be a nation of black women? We need to come together.”
Before the protest, Mr Kaba’s family released a statement calling for the officer under criminal investigation to be suspended, and for the investigation to be concluded in a timely manner.
A statement read: “On being notified of the death of Chris Kaba, the IOPC should have immediately opened a homicide and disciplinary investigation. The family was shocked to learn on Wednesday September 7 that the IOPC had still not done so, and demanded a change of heart without delay.
“The family now await the outcome of that investigation, but seek a charging decision in this case in weeks or a few months, not years. Public confidence in the police and our justice system requires the IOPC and CPS to find a way to make decisions in this case on a timescale that delivers justice to all concerned. Avoidable delay is unacceptable.
“In the meantime, the family demands that the commissioner of police of the metropolis immediately suspend the firearms officer, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The MP for Lambeth, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, also spoke at the protest and demanded more answers for the grieving family, including the body-cam footage of the officers.
Assistant commissioner Amanda Pearson said: “The Independent Office for Police Conduct have announced that a firearms officer is now subject to a homicide investigation.
“My thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Kaba’s friends and family with this news. I also know how concerned our communities are and how they will also be affected by this significant update. We share their concern.
“The Met is co-operating fully as the IOPC work to independently establish the full circumstances surrounding the shooting.”