On Thursday 5th September 2022, Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old Black man was shot by police in South London. While the exact circumstances surrounding his death remain undisclosed, Kaba was unarmed and died within his vehicle. The British Youth Council understands the concern his death will cause black communities.
The case has drawn negative attention for its similarities to other instances of anti-Black police brutality in the UK. Recent years have seen impassioned pleas for police reform, with former British Youth Council Trustee Larissa Kennedy suggesting in 2020 that “we must recognise that more officers, arms, jails and prisons are not a solution to longstanding problems of racism, injustice and police violence.”
Responding to developments in the investigation, Osaro Otobo, Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council said: “Black communities across the UK, and further afield will feel a collective trauma following the death of Chris Kaba. A young black man was shot and killed by police and we know that a deep mistrust of police in the UK because of anti-black police brutality will make this even more difficult to bear.
“It is paramount the circumstances leading to his death are explained and justice is served.”
Anti-Black police brutality prompted global outrage in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in the United States, but the murders of Seni Lewis, Sarah Reed and Sheku Bayoh – to name a few – clearly demonstrate this is a prevalent issue in the UK as well, and young people are concerned. The British Youth Council members state their commitment to actively supporting the Movement for Black Lives’ demands. Issues detailed in the youth-led organisations manifesto include calling upon the UK government, MPs and other elected representatives to realise issues such as sufficient police accountability following a murder, and an open acknowledgment of the harm institutions such as the police continue to cause the Black communities.
Undeniably, this case will invoke a collective trauma within the Black community and beyond. Last month, the British Youth Council expressed concern for those affected by the case. Our thoughts remain firmly with Kaba’s family and friends at this unprecedented time.
Further details surrounding Kaba’s death are expected to be released following the IOPC Inquest which began yesterday. The inquest is expected to last between six and nine months, and the British Youth Council continues to monitor this investigation and its impact on communities.