Demonstration of the Black Lives Matter movement in memory of Chris Kaba in front of New Scotland Yard, September 10, 2022. MAJA SMIEJKOWSKA / REUTERS
The death of Chris Kaba, a young black man shot and killed by a London police officer, in September 2022, gave rise to several demonstrations to demand “justice” and relaunched the debate on racism within Scotland Yard. The police officer responsible for the shooting was suspended, placed under judicial supervision and charged with this murder, the prosecution announced on Wednesday September 20.
Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old young man, was shot on September 5, 2022 through the windshield of the car he was driving, whose registration matched that of a vehicle linked to an incident involving firearms in the preceding days. He died a few hours later in hospital.
Concerned about potential consequences of prosecution
Since this indictment, many armed police officers from the London police have decided to give up carrying weapons. Most of London’s 34,000 police officers are unarmed. Of those who are, “many are concerned” about the potential consequences of these prosecutions, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.
“They are concerned” that these consequences could mark “a change in the way in which the decisions they make in the most difficult circumstances will be judged,” a London police spokesperson said.
“A certain number of officers” have decided to give up their armed police authorization “the time to reflect on their position”, continued the spokesperson, specifying that this “number has increased in the last 48 hours”. According to the BBC, there are more than 100 of them.
London police have a “significant capacity” of armed officers, deployed across the British capital, and in places such as Parliament, diplomatic premises, airports, the spokesperson said. “Our priority is the safety of the public,” he added, specifying that Scotland Yard is examining emergency options if necessary. On Saturday, London Police Chief Mark Rowley said he had met with 70 armed officers and found their concern “understandable”.
London police are facing a crisis of public confidence, after a series of crimes committed by police officers, including the rape and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman, by Wayne Couzens, in March 2021. Operation aimed at cleaning up the situation within the ranks of Scotland Yard resulted in the suspension or reassignment of 1,000 police officers.
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