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THE Metropolitan Police officer who shot dead Chris Kaba has been charged with murder, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced today in a rare decision.
The unarmed 24-year-old black man was shot while he was in a car on September 6 2022, in Streatham, south London.
He was followed by an unmarked police car with no lights or sirens on the day he died.
When he drove into a narrow residential street, which was blocked by a marked patrol car, the officer shot him in the head through the windshield.
The shooter has only been identified NX121 ahead of a trial and intends to make an application for anonymity in court.
He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The charging decision follows the homicide investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which passed its file to the CPS in March.
Rosemary Ainslie, of the CPS, said: “Following a thorough review of the evidence provided by the IOPC, the CPS has authorised a charge of murder against a Metropolitan Police officer following the death of Chris Kaba.
“The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against the officer are active and that he has the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Murder charges against police officers for actions while on duty are extremely rare.
Since 1990, in England and Wales, there have been 1,871 deaths recorded by the charity Inquest in or following police custody or contact. Eighty of these were through shootings.
In that time, there has only been one successful prosecution of an officer for manslaughter in 2021 and none for murder.
In 2016, 48-year-old former footballer Dalian Atkinson was killed after being tasered to the ground and kicked in the head by Benjamin Monk.
Before this, the last successful manslaughter prosecution of a police officer was in 1986.
In a joint statement, Mr Kaba’s family welcomed the charge, which they said “could not have come too soon.”
“Chris was so very loved by our family and all his friends. He had a bright future ahead of him, but his life was cut short,” the statement said.
“Our family and our wider community must see justice for Chris.
“Now we await the trial of the firearms officer without delay and hope and pray that justice will be served.”
The lawyer representing the family, Daniel Machover, said the decision “brings some hope that justice may be served for Chris, though the family’s wait for answers continues.”
Inquest head of casework Anita Sharma said that the next stages of the prosecution must be “pursued promptly, while ensuring the utmost scrutiny of the officer’s actions.”
She said: “Bereaved families should expect that police officers who kill people are held to account to a criminal standard, but this is so often denied.
“[Mr Kaba’s] death has generated national and international disquiet and yet again exposed the racism and violence of policing.”
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Millichap said the force had fully supported the IOPC investigation and worked to “establish the facts.”
She said: “Today’s announcement is a significant and serious development. We must now allow the court process to run its course so it would not be appropriate for me to say more at this stage.”
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in the force, said that while it will not comment on the decision, “the officer in question retains our full support as we now go through the legal process.”
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