The Met officer who shot unarmed black man Chris Kaba dead was today facing potential criminal charges as the police watchdog announced it was referring the killing to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Expectant father Chris Kaba, 24, was shot once in the head, suffering catastrophic injuries, in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham after his car was boxed in by officers tailing him through the narrow south London street.
The Metropolitan Police firearms officer, known only as NX121, was suspended from duty and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a homicide investigation.
On Thursday the IOPC said it had decided to send a file of evidence to prosecutors on the basis of the findings of its months of investigation into the fatal shooting.
IOPC director Amanda Rowe said: “This was a tragic incident and our investigators have been working hard to ensure that our comprehensive investigation has been completed without undue delay and within the six-to-nine-month timeframe we provided.
“Mr Kaba died after he was struck by a single gunshot fired by an MPS officer into the vehicle he was driving.
“During the investigation, the officer was advised they were under criminal investigation for murder and following the conclusion of our investigation we have referred a file of evidence to the CPS to determine whether to charge the officer.
“A referral to the CPS does not necessarily mean that criminal charges will follow. It is now for the CPS to decide, applying the tests in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, whether or not to prosecute the officer.
“Mr Kaba’s family and the officer involved have been notified of this development."
In a joint statement, Mr Kaba’s family said: “Our family, alongside the community who have supported us over the past seven months, have been consistent in our call for accountability.
"This step forward is necessary and welcome. We very much hope that the CPS advise in favour of a prosecution and that the truth will emerge, without delay, through criminal proceedings.
“Our family and community cannot continue waiting for answers. Chris was so loved by our family and all his friends. He had a bright future ahead of him before his life was cut short. We must see justice for Chris.”
Kaba’s death on September 5 2022 sparked waves of grief and protest in the capital with thousands marching on Parliament Square demanding justice.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said his thoughts were with Chris Kaba’s “family, friends and loved ones” after the announcement.
He added: “Chris had his whole life ahead of him and his death has had a huge impact on Londoners, and in particular Black Londoners, with anger, pain and fear felt across communities, along with a desire for change and justice.
“It was vital that the IOPC fully investigated all the evidence before making a decision, and now that they have referred this case to the CPS, I hope it will be considered as swiftly as possible.”
Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy called the decision “an important step towards accountability”. She tweeted: “My thoughts are with Chris’s loved ones as they continue their journey towards justice.
“Throughout the investigation, the IOPC assured Chris Kaba’s family that they were passing on all relevant and appropriate evidence to the CPS. After months of agony, it’s absolutely vital that the CPS now makes a swift decision. There’s no excuse for delay.”
The IOPC had disclosed that the shooting occurred as police “attempted to stop and contain” the Audi that Mr Kaba was driving and that the pursuit was prompted after the vehicle, which was not registered to Mr Kaba, was linked by automatic numberplate technology to a firearms incident.