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Bishop of Croydon calls for answers after Chris Kaba shot dead by police

16 September 2022

Alamy

Protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs gather in Whitehall on Saturday

Protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs gather in Whitehall on Saturday

THE Bishop of Croydon, Dr Rosemarie Mallett, has called for answers to family questions after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by police on Monday night of last week.

Chris Kaba, who was 24 and due to become a father, was shot dead by a police officer in Streatham, south London. The vehicle in which Mr Kaba was driving was stopped after it activated a licence-plate recognition camera, which indicated a link with a recent firearms offence, the police said.

After a chase, the car was blocked by police vehicles on a residential street in Streatham Hill, in the London borough of Lambeth. A shot was fired into the car by a police officer, killing Mr Saba. It has since been revealed that the car was not registered to Mr Kaba, and that there were no firearms in the car or on his person.

Dr Mallett said on Tuesday that people were “extremely angry”; but improved community engagement by the police, along with the “sombre mood” brought on by the Queen’s death, had “tempered any possible volatility”.

She spoke of the work that churches in south London had put into the Lambeth Police Consultative Group. “To be honest, brokers in that conversation between the police and the community is a role the Church has long played,” she said, adding that she would seek to further conversations with the police service in her episcopal area of Croydon.

Dr Mallett continued: “The Church should be there for the community, to listen to them, to be open, if they want safe spaces and if they want to come and pray,” but should also push for answers. “We must stand for justice for the communities that we serve.”

After Mr Kaba’s death, his family released a statement calling for a full investigation into what happened. It said: “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.” Dr Mallett echoed these comments, saying: “We want to know if this young man was murdered because he was black.” That was not to say that this was the case, but “it has to be a question that is asked. . . Young black men already feel that through stop and search that they are targeted by police, that there are racist elements within the police.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched a murder investigation. On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the officer who shot Mr Kaba had been suspended.

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