The British officer that killed an unarmed rapper in London has been suspended from his duties. Family and friends say authorities have taken too long to relieve him of his duties.
Hip-Hop artist Chris Kaba, a Wembley native, was gunned down in a police-involved shooting on Monday, Sept. 5, around 10 p.m. in Streatham Hill, South London. The officer that fired the shots only used one round of fire to claim the young man’s life. Now, the officer who shot the artists has been removed from his frontline duties by Scotland Yard. Originally, he was still allowed to work, but within hours, in the shadows of civil protest, the new Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, suspended the officer, MSN reports.
In addition to the suspension and also Rowley’s commitment to building public trust and confidence in the police force, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched a criminal homicide investigation. The investigation went into effect after it was confirmed the 24-year-old Black man was unarmed when he was shot.
The organization revealed, “no non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene” following a canvassing of the crime screen area, affirming the artist was without a weapon.
The family believes law enforcement is acting with “no urgency” regarding this investigation.
Kaba’s cousin, Jefferson Bosela, said the officer should have been suspended as soon as the homicide investigation was launched.
“We welcome that decision but, to be honest, I think… the second a criminal investigation was opened he should have been suspended from there,” he said to the BBC. “You know, first we wanted a criminal investigation opened and that took four days, and then the officer being suspended took another two days.”
“So, it seems like there’s no urgency in their dealings with this quite tragic matter,” the cousin stated.
The Mayor made a statement about the investigation saying his “heartfelt sympathies remain with Chris Kaba’s family, friends, and loved ones, who are having to come to terms with a young life cut short.”
“I fully understand the grave concerns and impact of Chris’ death on Black Londoners across our city and the anger, pain, and fear it has caused— as well as the desire for justice and change.”
Over the weekend, hundreds of citizens took to the street and peacefully marched to demand justice for the member of the U.K.’s drill rap group 67.
Kaba’s family released a statement saying, “We are devastated; we need answers, and we need accountability. 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,” Pinkvilla reports.
The family is also asking for bodycam footage to be released, according to Bosela. They also want an estimated timeline for the investigation into their relative’s death, who would have become a father over the next few months had he lived.
Bosela said, “We want the footage to be shown to the family to have a clear understanding of what happened.”
Notable rapper Stormzy joined the protesters and gave a message to the people, saying “Keep going, the family needs you.”
He said, “I encourage everyone to have stamina.”
“I know it is a very difficult thing to say,” Stormzy notes. “No one should have to have stamina to have justice to go and get answers.”
Reports say Kaba was driving in his Audi when two police patrol cars hemmed him into a narrow residential street in Kirkstall Gardens.
The armed officers, according to the IOPC, pursued the artist after an automatic number plate recognition camera connected his vehicle to a firearms crime days earlier.
The family found out about the officer’s suspension while the family and members of the community were participating in a candlelit vigil on the street where the artist was fatally shot.
“At the vigil, his mother was saying, ‘Chris, what were you saying in your last minutes? I wish I had just one minute with you, speak to me please.’ It was heartbreaking,” Bosela continued.