Statement on the killing of Chris Kaba

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.

Feb 2021: UFFC People’s Tribunal Announced

UFFC is a grassroots movement for and led by the friends and families of people whose loved ones have died at the hands of police, prisons, mental health institutions and borders. The organisation was founded by Black women, and continues to be led by Black women, although they do work with anyone whose loved one has died at the hands of the state.

UFFC is the only organisation specifically named as a partner group on our GoFundMe page as we believe them to be one of the leading groups challenging racist state violence in Britain. We therefore a working with them to run a large project for justice.

This Peoples Tribunal will hear cases in which the state must be brought to account for taking the lives of Black and other oppressed people. You can learn more about the Peoples Tribunal in this Guardian exclusive by Aamna Mohdin: BLM UK to fund ‘people’s tribunal’ for deaths in custody.

January 2021: BLMUK Clubhouse Room

BLMUK speak at Clubhouse Room with BLM Cardiff, Justice 4 Black Lives and the family of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan
Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was a young black man who died after sustaining serious injuries in police custody on Saturday 9th January 2021. Mobilisations protesting his death in Cardiff and London were shut down by police, with many being arrested and fined for breaking lockdown regulations. Learn more about the campaign on their petition page.

October 2018: Annual March Against Deaths in Custody

UKBLM marches with the families of those who have died at the hands of the state to demand justice for their loved ones.

November 2016: In conversation – UFFC and UKBLM

UKBLM hosts a video titled Meet UFFC for people to get to know the campaigners who have lost loved ones at the hands of the state.

October 2016: UKBLM Subvertises with UFFC

Our ‘subvertising’ brought the fight for justice for those who die in custody into peoples everyday lives. Each year the number of deaths in custody rises. Black Lives Matter and United Family and Friends Campaign put that message out on the streets, while state institutions stay silent. Read The Guardian coverage here.

August 2016 ‘One day the chains will be broken’

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean died in Brixton police station in 2008, and writer and activist Wail Qasim tell the Guardian’s Owen Jones why a Black Lives Matter movement is necessary in the UK and what they hope to achieve. View the full interview below.