An armed Metropolitan Police officer who shot dead the black rapper Chris Kaba in south London last year has been charged with murder, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.
The officer, who can only be identified as NX121 at this stage, is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The decision to authorise the charge against him was taken following a review of evidence provided by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which carried out a six-month investigation into the shooting.
Mr Kaba, a 24-year-old expectant father, was killed by a single bullet fired by a police marksman on Sept 5 last year.
He was alone at the time and had been driving an Audi Q8 through south London when he was stopped by police in the Streatham Hill area.
Armed officers in an unmarked police car had been covertly following the vehicle after Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology flagged it as having been linked to a firearms incident the day before.
The Audi was not owned by Mr Kaba or registered in his name, and Scotland Yard said officers were not aware of the identity of the driver at the time.
After he was shot no firearms were discovered inside the vehicle.
The specialist firearms officer was initially placed on restricted duties but was subsequently suspended.
Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against the officer are active and that he has the right to a fair trial.”
‘We pray justice will be served’
Following the announcement, Mr Kaba’s family issued a statement which read: “Chris was so very loved by our family and all his friends. He had a bright future ahead of him, but his life was cut short. Our family and our wider community must see justice for Chris.
“We welcome this charging decision, which could not have come too soon. Now we await the trial of the firearms officer without delay and hope and pray that justice will be served.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in the capital, said: “Being a firearms officer in London is one of the world’s toughest jobs. Officers, who volunteer for the role, know the responsibility and accountability that come with it.
“The Metropolitan Police Federation notes today’s statement from the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to one of our firearms colleagues and makes no further comment on that at this time.
“What we will say is that this decision will leave serving Metropolitan Police colleagues concerned as they go about their incredibly difficult and dangerous work.
“The officer in question retains our full support as we now go through the legal process.”
While adult defendants charged with criminal offences are usually named when they are charged, the officer has not been identified at this stage.
Amanda Rowe, director of the IOPC said he had not been named for “legal reasons”.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Millichap from the Met Police said: “We have fully supported the IOPC investigation as it has worked to establish the facts.
“Today’s announcement is a significant and serious development. We must now allow the court process to run its course so it would not be appropriate for me to say more at this stage. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this case.”
“It’s important now that criminal proceedings are able to run their course. We would reiterate the importance of not reporting, commenting or sharing information online which could in any way prejudice those proceedings.”
It is not the first time an armed Met officer has been charged with murder over a fatal shooting while on duty.
In 2015 former officer Anthony Long was accused of murdering Azelle Rodney, who was shot dead during a police operation in Edgware, north London in 2005.
Mr Long was acquitted of murder by a jury following a trial at the Old Bailey.