Unarmed Chris Kaba, 24, died after being shot in the head through the windscreen of a car he was driving by a Met firearms officer in Streatham Hill shortly after 10pm on September 5, 2022.
The fatal shooting, which sparked mass protests from the black community including from British rapper Stormzy, led to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launching a murder investigation.
On Wednesday, more than a year on from the incident, the CPS announced it had authorised a murder charge to be issued against a police officer who is only being identified as Officer NX121.
Protests from his colleagues, which the Met said has ‘increased over the past 48 hours’, is said to have left London with a ‘skeleton’ of armed police, causing panic among Met chiefs.
Chris Kaba, 24, died after being shot by a Metropolitan Police firearms officer in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, south London, shortly after 10pm on September 5
Hundreds of firearms officers have handed in their weapons in protest after a colleague was charged with murdering Mr Kaba. (File image)
An overhead view of the scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, following the shooting in September 2022
The Met Police confirmed to MailOnline that ‘a number’ of the officer’s colleagues have stepped back from armed duties over fears about how future police shootings may be judged by the CPS.
But sources have told The Sun that there are ‘hundreds’ of officers out of action, with the Met looking at applying for armed police assistance from counties and appealing for military support.
It comes after Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, who has held talks with 70 firearms officers since the murder charge was announced, said members of his force had concerns over how ‘split-second decisions’ may be looked at years after the event.
An inquest at Inner South London Coroner’s Court in October heard that father-to-be Mr Kaba was followed by an unmarked police car with no lights or sirens turned on in the minutes before the shooting.
After his Audi drove down Kirkstall Gardens he was blocked by a marked police vehicle and there was ‘contact’ between the two cars, the court heard, before a marksman fired a single shot through the windscreen, hitting Mr Kaba in the head.
The vehicle had been linked by police to a firearms incident the previous day. Mr Kaba was unarmed and was not being treated as a suspect at the time, an inquest heard in October.
Mr Kaba’s heartbroken family have been demanding action and claimed the officer alleged to have shot their son must face criminal charges. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also demanded ‘justice’ for Mr Kaba.
Crowds demanding ‘Justice for Chris Kaba’ assembled outside of New Scotland Yard in September to protest his death
British rapper Stormzy was among those to attend the protests, where he spoke to the crowds
Mr Kaba’s family earlier questioned whether his life would have been ‘cut short’ if he were not black
Despite Sir Mark paying tribute to the courage of armed officers and backing them for ‘reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities’, the commissioner’s intervention was described by one source as ‘too little, too late.’
‘Hundreds of Authorised Firearms Officers on the MO19 command have handed in their blue tickets,’ the source told The Sun.
‘They are angry and upset. Their families are worried and therefore they do not believe they are in the right frame of mind to carry a firearm.’
The source suggested that officers are taking time away to determine whether they can continue a job which could be life-changing if they become involved in a shooting.
Met chiefs are said to have held crisis talks today to discuss the situation which could be exacerbated if Officer NX121 loses his anonymity.
It’s claimed that only a few officers from the Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Operations have been left on duty in the capital. Meanwhile, just a handful of the Met’s Armed Response Vehicles are patrolling the streets.
There are fears that firearms officers from other armed cohorts, such as the Royal palace, Downing Street and Heathrow, have also handed in weapons. Even officers from Greater Manchester Police and other forces are said to be contemplating what to do.
A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘Senior officers, including the Commissioner, have been meeting with firearms officers in recent days as they reflect on the CPS decision to charge NX121 with murder.
Earlier this month relatives of Chris Kaba called for an urgent decision on criminal charges in the case (Pictured in October: left, Chris’s uncle Kiyika Nkama Nkamu, second left: father Prosper Kaba, right: cousin Jefferson Bosela and far right: mother Helen Lumuanganu)
‘Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families. They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.
‘A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position. That number has increased over the past 48 hours.
‘We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have.’
‘The Met has a significant firearms capability and we continue to have armed officers deployed in communities across London as well as at other sites including Parliament, diplomatic premises, airports etc.’
‘Our priority is to keep the public safe. We are closely monitoring the situation and are exploring contingency options, should they be required.’
Earlier this week the Metropolitan Police Federation noted the CPS decision but admitted serving officers have been left ‘concerned as they go about their incredibly difficult and dangerous work.’
They added: ‘The officer in question retains our full support as we now go through the legal process.’
Forensic officers working overnight inside a police cordon following the fatal shooting
Chris Kaba, 24, who was due to become a father within months, died after being shot by police in Streatham Hill, south London
Floral tributes were left at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, south London
The Independent Office for Police conduct carried out an investigation into the fatal shooting – with the CPS announcing this week it was charging an officer with murder
Members of campaign group Justice For Chris Kaba give a statement outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court after an officer was charged with the 24-year-old’s murder
The Met’s firearms command was blasted in 363-page dossier by Baroness Casey earlier this year into the standards of the force.
The report, which found the Met to be ‘failing women and children… and institutionally racist’, followed a series of shameful scandals within the force including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving armed officer Wayne Couzens.
In a joint statement following news an officer had been charged with Mr Kaba’s murder, his family said: ‘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. Our family and our wider community must see justice for Chris.
‘We welcome this charging decision, which could not have come too soon. Now we await the trial of the firearms officer without delay and hope and pray that justice will be served.’
Dr Wanda Wyporska, chief executive of Black Equity Organisation welcomed what she called the ‘landmark decision’ by the CPS to charge an officer with murder.
‘This decision has been long-overdue. We stand with Chris’ family at this time and demand that the system delivers a verdict swiftly to ensure that they can get the justice they deserve,’ she added.
District judge Nina Tempia granted anonymity for the officer. But at a second hearing at Central Criminal Court on Thursday, the Recorder of London Mark Lucraft KC said he would consider anonymity applications on September 29.