A London Metropolitan Police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man has been charged with murder, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Chris Kaba, 24, was killed in south London on September 5 last year after police chased his car and tried to stop it. His vehicle plowed through two police cars on a narrow residential street in the Streatham Hill neighbourhood. Police fired a round at Kaba, who was shot through the windshield of the car he was driving.
Rosemary Ainslie, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said that after a thorough examination of the evidence, a charge of murder was approved against the officer, who remains unnamed.
Kamba died after being hit by a single bullet, he said.
The officer has been suspended from duty following the incident and is expected to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
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The case has caused an outcry and criticisms of institutional racism in the police force. Kamba’s family welcomed Wednesday’s development and said they hope any trial can take place without delay.
On the day he died, Kamba was being followed by an unmarked patrol car with no lights or sirens. He was driving an Audi that didn’t belong to him.
The Independent Office for Policing Conduct, which investigated the case, said the shooting happened after an automatic number plate recognition camera was activated, which showed the vehicle Kaba was driving was linked to a firearms incident in the previous days.
It is rare for police officers in the UK to be charged with murder or manslaughter.
In 2021, a constable was sentenced to eight years in prison for the murder of Dalian Atkinson, a former professional footballer who died after being shot with a stun gun and kicked in the head during an argument. The officer, Benjamin Monk, was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter.