Britain’s police watchdog asked prosecutors Thursday to decide whether to charge a police officer over the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man in London last year.
Chris Kaba died after an officer fired a single gunshot through the windshield of the car the 24-year-old was driving in a residential area of south London on Sept. 5.
Officials said at an inquest last year that the Audi was believed to be linked to a firearms incident that took place the previous day. The vehicle’s registration number had been entered into a database for automatic camera recognition, although Kaba’s name was not included in an officer briefing.
Kaba’s family has accused London’s Metropolitan Police of racism and called for the officer to be charged.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said Thursday it has completed a homicide investigation into Kaba’s death and passed on a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.
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The watchdog’s director, Amanda Rowe, said it was up to prosecutors to decide whether or not to charge the officer, who was suspended from duty while under investigation.
Kaba’s family welcomed the move and said they hoped “the truth will emerge, without delay, through criminal proceedings.”
“Our family and community cannot continue waiting for answers,” the family said in a statement.
Kaba was expecting a child when police pursued and blocked the Audi, according to information from the inquest. An officer who got out stood in front of Kaba’s car and fired through the windshield, striking him in the head. He died in the hospital soon after.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Kaba’s death prompted “anger, pain and fear” and a desire for change and justice across the capital, especially among Black Londoners.
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The shooting came amid intense scrutiny of the Metropolitan Police.
In 2021, an officer on Britain’s biggest police force pleaded guilty to raping, kidnapping and bearing responsibility for the death of a 33-year-old woman who disappeared while walking home from visiting a friend.
Another Met officer, who worked in the same parliamentary and diplomatic protection unit, pleaded guilty in January to committing dozens of rapes between 2003 and 2020. The police department has been embroiled in other matters involving its treatment of women and minorities.
Earlier this month, an independent review found the London force had lost public confidence because of deep-seated racism, misogyny and homophobia.