London Police Turn In Firearms After Officer Charged With Murder
Following the shooting death of 24-year-old Chris Kaba by a London police marksman, some officers have refused to carry guns while on patrol.
While England, unlike the United States, does not typically give their officers firearms, the agents that do carry guns underwent specialized training to use them while on patrol. As the Associated Press reported, the Metropolitan Police said its officers are concerned that charging the officer with murder “signals a shift in the way the decisions they make in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.”
Kaba was killed Sept. 5, 2022, after Metropolitan Police chased him in an unmarked car. After the vehicle stopped, Kaba was hit by a bullet fired through the windshield of his Audi as he sat in his car. The officer who killed Kaba was granted provisional bail as he awaits his trial date in 2024.
According to the BBC, on Sept. 23, over 100 officers turned in their issued firearms, which many British social media users called a petulant action, while police from other departments were called in to help patrol. Metro police still had enough firearm capability to patrol effectively, but they still asked the Ministry of Defense to help with counterterrorism should the need arise.
A police officer who shot dead Chris Kaba has been charged with murder. Trial by jury will follow. Met armed officers handing in their tickets are in effect saying if we cannot have impunity to shoot a man we won't play anymore. https://t.co/4gVMr4EQE1
— Gyll King Post Skip Diplomacy (@GyllKing) September 24, 2023
The @metpoliceuk commissioner says "Let the police police" after an officer is charged with murdering an unarmed Black man who posed no threat.
Our thoughts are with Chris Kaba family who are witnessing prospective jury intimidation with army threats.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) September 25, 2023
Rosemary Ainslie of the Crown Prosecution Service said that after thoroughly reviewing all the evidence, a murder charge was agreed to for the unidentified officer who killed Kaba. The officer was subsequently suspended from duty and scheduled to appear before the Westminster Magistrate Court on Sept. 21.
Kaba’s death sparked protests and questions about institutional racism within London’s police force. Meanwhile, his family hopes a trial will take place as quickly as possible. The Independent Office for Police Conduct also investigated the incident and found that the shooting happened after a number plate recognition camera identified the plate as one that was linked to a previous firearm incident.
Charging police officers with murder or manslaughter is rare in the United Kingdom. The last officer to be charged with both was Benjamin Monk, in 2021. Monk killed a soccer player by shooting him with a stun gun and kicking him in the head. Monk was acquitted of the murder charge but is serving an eight-year sentence for manslaughter.