Police watchdog finds man shot dead in south London was unarmed

The 24-year-old died after a car chase that ended in Streatham Hill, south London. His Audi was hemmed in by two police cars in a narrow residential street Kirkstall Gardens before one round was fired from a police weapon. CPR was administered immediately by officers at the scene. Mr Kaba was taken to hospital where he died later that night, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed.

In a statement on Wednesday, the IOPC said: “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.

“As the investigation into that incident is ongoing by the MPS, it would not be appropriate to provide further information.”

It added: “A detailed search of the scene and surrounding area was completed last night. No non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene.”

The watchdog said that forensic examinations will be conducted on Mr Kaba’s car and some of the police vehicles involved in the incident.

Mr Kaba’s family has questioned whether his life would have been “cut short” if he had not been black. They have demanded a murder investigation into his death.

They 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.

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“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 Metropolitan Police expressed its condolences to Mr Kaba’s loved ones and said the force understood “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 (IOPC) as they carry out a thorough and independent investigation.”

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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.”

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.”