The fatal shooting of Chris Kaba has shaken and outraged people across our communities. It is devastating to see yet another Black person’s life taken by the police, however not surprising, since we are more than twice as likely to die during or following police contact. Only three months ago, Oladeji Adeyemi Omishore died after being tasered by the police on Chelsea Bridge. With each death, our community experiences collective grief. Black people across the UK are left wondering: who’s next? And how can justice and accountability be achieved? Thousands turned out to show solidarity and support to the Kaba family at a protest last weekend. This action followed the launch of a homicide investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into Chris Kaba’s death. We welcome this swift response, however, we know that the journey for answers can span years and for many justice is rarely an outcome.
In this moment, we must resist sceptics’ demands for a ‘perfect victim’ – an impossible standard that cannot be met. Conversations surrounding Kaba’s death have already been tainted with hearsay and speculation around his personal history – what he might have done to ‘deserve’ it. Let us be clear: we believe that no one deserves death at the hands of the state. It is also impossible to discern fact from fiction when we know that both the Met and the media have historically colluded in slandering Black victims in death, for example, when they claimed that Mark Duggan ‘came from a gangster family’, and cropped photos of him at his baby’s grave to make him look more ‘threatening’. It is clear that the game is rigged – and so we must resist the demand to prove each victims’ innocence, when we have decades’ worth of evidence that the police and criminal justice system is guilty of institutional racism.
Now is the time for action – we should be turning out to show solidarity with Kaba’s family and all those organising against racist policing. The family is currently raising funds for their campaign for justice, since these campaigns are often costly, traumatic, and entail taking unpaid time off work. We want to encourage people to make a donation, large or small, to help them cover these costs. We are currently providing material support and will announce the details soon. For regular updates about the family campaign, upcoming protests and any other relevant information to the case, we recommend following @JusticeForChrisKaba on Instagram. We send our endless support, solidarity and healing to the Kaba family and to all impacted by police and state violence.