The Bishop of Croydon has appealed for calm ahead of a demonstration to be held later today that will call for justice for Chris Kaba, the young black man who was shot dead by police in Streatham earlier this week.
Calling for more and better communication from the police, Dr Rosemarie Mallett has asked that the Met “acknowledge the frustration and fears in the community”.
Dr Mallett, who was installed as Bishop earlier this summer, was responding to social media posts in the past couple of days which suggested that the shooting of Kaba in a south London residential road could lead to rioting similar to that which followed the killing of Mark Duggan in the summer of 2011.
African, Caribbean and Asian Lawyers for Justice had tweeted on Thursday, “Brixton shuts down in a blind panic as fears of major civil unrest in response to the police shooting of Chris Kaba and as a result of rising black anger.
“Things are really tense in Lambeth right now,” they wrote.
Their tweet was accompanied by a photo of a notice in the window of TK Maxx which announced the shop’s closure, “Due to potential civil unrest in the area. We apologise for the inconvenience.”
A march is being staged today, beginning at noon in Parliament Square and heading to Scotland Yard, as a demonstration of the widespread public concern that a young black man has been killed on the streets of London by police officers once more.
Father-to-be Kaba died in hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning after being shot following a chase with police on Monday night in Streatham Hill, south London. He was 24 years old.
The police belatedly confirmed that Kaba was unarmed.
The grief and anger of Kaba’s friends and family has been compounded by the feeling that the fatal shooting has been ignored, even deliberately under-reported, since Thursday, as most media organisations, in particular the local broadcast bulletins, have focused on little else other than the death of the Queen.
The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, is investigating the shooting. Last night, the IOPC said a single round had been fired by armed officers. A Metropolitan Police firearms officer is the subject of a murder investigation.
The Met’s assistant commissioner Amanda Pearson said last night, “The Independent Office for Police Conduct have announced that a firearms officer is now subject to a homicide investigation.
“My thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Kaba’s friends and family with this news. I also know how concerned our communities are and how they will also be affected by this significant update. We share their concern.
“The Met is co-operating fully as the IOPC work to independently establish the full circumstances surrounding the shooting.”
Yesterday morning, before taking part in formal civic ceremonials to run a flag up a mast and then haul it down to half-staff following the death of the monarch, Bishop Mallet joined the public debate surrounding Kaba’s death and its aftermath when she tweeted, “There is anger and confusion and answers are needed now.
“We have seen the results of a lack of police openness and communication with family and community.”
Perhaps recalling the arson and looting that followed the 2011 death of Mark Duggan, the Bishop wrote, “We don’t need streets and homes to be vandalised as people turn their anger and frustration outwards.
“Often, it’s the community that people live in and care about that is upturned. I pray the [Metropolitan Police] and the new Commissioner ensure open communication and respect for the family, and acknowledge the frustration and fears in the community.”
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