No firearm was found at the scene where a Black man was shot dead by police in south London this week, according to a watchdog office investigating the rare fatal police shooting in England.
Chris Kaba, 24, died after he was shot following a Metropolitan Police car chase in Streatham Hill on Monday evening, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said in a statement Wednesday.
Armed police attempted to stop the vehicle that Kaba was in after an automatic number plate recognition camera indicated that the vehicle was linked to a previous firearms incident, the IOPC said.
At about 10 p.m. (5 p.m. ET), as armed officers tried to stop the vehicle, a police officer fired a single shot. Officers at the scene administered CPR while additional support from the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance was also called, the IOPC adds. Kaba died in the hospital on Monday night.
The IOPC, the police watchdog for England and Wales, said it searched the scene and local area on Tuesday evening, after which no non-police issued firearm was found.
Kaba, a British rapper, was due to become a father, the PA Media agency reported. Kaba’s family has called for a homicide investigation, according to a statement issued by INQUEST, a charity that provides information and support to families affected by state-related deaths.
“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 family statement reads.
There will be a detailed forensic examination of the vehicle that Kaba was driving and on some of the police vehicles involved, the IOPC said. The office will also review body-worn camera video and video from the police vehicles, it said.
“We recognize 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,” regional director Sal Naseem said in the IOPC statement.
“This investigation is complex in nature and there is a large amount of evidence that our investigators are continuing to gather and review,” Naseem added.
Metropolitan Police commander Alexis Boon said in a statement Wednesday: “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.”
Boon said he understood the incident was “extremely concerning,” adding that the force is “cooperating fully” with the IOPC.
Fatal police shootings in the UK are very rare.
According to data collated by INQUEST, there were two fatal police shootings in England and Wales in 2021 and three in 2020. Crime statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland are usually collected separately.
Deborah Coles, the director of INQUEST, said in a statement Wednesday: “When the police kill, they must be held accountable to the rule of law. INQUEST fully supports the family’s call for this to be a criminal investigation from the outset. It is essential that fatal use of force by police is examined with this high level of scrutiny.
“There is rightly anger and frustration at yet another Black man whose life has been cut short after the use of lethal force by police. Too often we see misinformation and demonization of those who die. We hope this is not repeated here, as family and friends mourn the loss of a loved one.”