“It was the life of the party, you know, wherever he went, he didn’t hesitate to show the people he cared about that he cared for them,” says Jefferson Bosela, describing his cousin Chris Kaba. “He was an older brother, he was a boyfriend, he was a future dad, so he had so much to offer for him, which makes this tragedy even worse.”
On 5 September, Kaba was driving through Streatham in South London when the vehicle was flagged by Automatic License Plate Recognition (ANPR) before being chased and intercepted by two Metropolitan Police cars.
After performing a “controlled stop”, police vehicles pitted at Kaba on Streatham Hill. A single bullet was then fired through the windshield on the driver’s side, hitting Kaba in the head. He died two hours later in the hospital. It was later confirmed that Kaba was unarmed and that the car he was driving in was not in his name.
Although the now suspended officer involved was initially treated as a witness, the Independent Bureau of Police Conduct launched a murder investigation. On Friday evening, the IOCC said it will assess whether the breed has influenced the actions taken by the police.
Bosela, who became the family spokesperson and took the helm of the Justice for Chris Kaba campaign, said the response to the incident by the IOCC was not urgent, citing the supervisory body’s response to questions. of the family and saying it is six to nine months for the murder investigation was too long.
“I don’t think the IOCC was necessarily helpful,” says Bosela. “From the beginning we asked them very simple questions, such as if the car was in Chris’s name and if the car was searched, if there was a gun in the car. And we didn’t find the answer to these questions until later ”.
“We only met twice face to face … Other than that, he’s been on the phone and few and far between,” adds Bosela. “We are not receiving regular updates, even if they say they are. Many of the questions we ask ourselves remain unanswered and when they do answer, the answers are rather vague. It was not the best experience for me or my family with regards to our relationship with the IOPC. “
On Wednesday, the IOCC confirmed that Kaba’s family would be able to watch a police video of the night he was killed, which they will do next week. Although the watchdog denied bowing to pressure from both Kaba’s family and the public when he first initiated the investigation into the murder, Bosela doesn’t believe this is the case. “I think if there hadn’t been any pressure, they would have taken their time,” adds Bosela. “I think without pressure they wouldn’t have much incentive to do it.”
Deborah Coles, the executive director of Inquest, who supported Kaba’s family, said: “I think the most important thing is that this has to be a timely and effective investigation. We cannot tolerate the excessive delays that have been so familiar in all the other investigations that other families have suffered ”.
Bosela recently resigned from her position as head of the year at a London secondary school to focus on the campaign.
Protests will be held across the country on Saturday, including London, Manchester and Cardiff, as part of a national day of action. It follows last week’s protests, which included support from public figures like Stormzy and Labor MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Harriet Harman.
Bosela said that although the family’s contact with the Met had been limited, some officers had expressed sympathy for what had happened.
“There were some officers, when we went to protest, who said they were as angry as we are and that they also want answers and a quick investigation,” says Bosela. “So it was somewhat reassuring when we heard this from some police officers.”
There are still many questions that remain unanswered about what happened the night Kaba was killed. The family said they now want to know if the Met knew Kaba was driving the car since she wasn’t in his name; they want the suspended officer to be questioned as soon as possible with caution; and they want a debit decision within weeks.
But despite the pain and heartbreak the family is experiencing, Bosela said the support they received has been extremely positive. “Public support has lifted my spirits,” Bosela said. “He made us feel like family appreciated, appreciated and loved. What more could you ask for, it was so surreal. Although this was a tragic story, the union, unity and solidarity that was shown to the family was beautiful. “