The family of an unarmed man fatally shot by the Metropolitan Police have said the firearms officer involved should be “immediately suspended”, as protestors gather in central London to demand answers over the incident.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched a homicide investigation into the shooting of Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old who was due to become a father within months, in Streatham Hill.
On Saturday, crowds marching to Scotland Yard paid tribute to Mr Kaba, who's car was hemmed in by two police cars in a narrow residential street on Monday night, before one round was fired from a police weapon.
The IOPC has previously confirmed no gun was found in the Audi that Mr Kaba was driving.
Signs reading “Black Lives Matter”, “Justice for Chris Kaba” and “Abolish the Met” were held up as speakers using a megaphone led chants of “no justice, no peace”.
Video of protesters gathering in central London over the fatal Lambeth shooting
Mr Kaba's family has questioned whether his life would have been “cut short” if he were not black and demanded “answers and accountability”.
In a statement issued on his family's behalf, Daniel Machover, head of civil litigation at solicitors Hickman & Rose, said: “Following a police stop in Streatham, south-west London, shortly after 10pm on Monday, September 5, a firearms officer employed by the MPS fired a fatal shot at Chris Kaba while he was seated, unarmed, in a car.
“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 therefore welcome the IOPC’s decisions on Friday, September 9, to open homicide and disciplinary investigations against that firearms officer, however belatedly.
“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."
He added "avoidable delay is unacceptable" and that public confidence in the police requires its watchdog and the CPS to make decisions in the case "on a timescale that delivers justice to all concerned".
“In the meantime, the family demand that the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis immediately suspend the firearms officer, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
There was a limited police presence as demonstrators assembled on Parliament Square and made their way through Whitehall, but protestors were vocal in expressing why they were taking part.
Morgan Williams, 21, said she was attending the Lambeth shooting protest because young black people should be able to live their lives without feeling threatened.
Ms Williams, a student from London, said she feels unsafe in the wake of Mr Kaba’s death.
“I feel like in 2022 we shouldn’t be having these problems. As young black people we should be able to coexist alongside other communities without being threatened.
“Of course I feel unsafe. I feel like there hasn’t been an answer, nor has anyone taken responsibility.”
Mr Kaba was given first aid by officers at the scene and taken to hospital where he died later in the night.
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On Friday Met Assistant Commander Amanda Pearson said: “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.”
The force said the officer involved was not currently on operational duties due to the formal post-incident process, and a senior officer would carefully consider their work status.
Ms Pearson added: “I absolutely understand that this shooting is a matter of grave concern, particularly for our black communities.
“I also know what a difficult and often dangerous job firearms officers in particular do every day to try to protect the public. They understand and expect that on the very rare occasions they discharge their weapons they will face intense scrutiny. I don’t underestimate the impact on them of this development.
“I’d urge the public to allow the IOPC the time and space needed to progress the investigation.”