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A UK police officer has been charged with Chris Kaba’s murder

But the ruling doesn’t equate accountability within a broken police system. 

Last year, an unarmed man was shot by a police officer in South London. Chris Kaba was just 24-years-old.

His death resulted in protests from the Black community at the time. Led by Kaba’s family, hundreds rallied at the Met Police headquarters demanding justice.

It took a year for any progress in the case, as Kaba’s mother Helen Lumuanganu continued demanding answers over who was responsible. But on 21st September this year, Crown Prosecution charged a firearms officer with Kaba’s murder.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division said of the charge: ‘following a thorough review of the evidence provided by the IOPC, the CPS has authorised a charge of murder against a Metropolitan Police officer following the death of Chris Kaba.’

Directly following the news, many X users shared their relief that justice was ostensibly being served. But the charge mostly triggered vicious debate around armed police officers and systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

Any backlash to the officers murder charge has metastasized into full-blown protest by fellow firearms officers, who downed their weapons this week.

According to a report by the Financial Times, more than 100 counter-terrorism firearms officers responded by saying they ‘no longer felt comfortable doing their job’ if there was a chance they could end up in the docks.

Military personnel have now been called in to provide back-up support, where specific tasks cannot be provided by police during the protests.

Suella Braverman has also demanded reform of how armed police are held to account for wrongdoing, with the hopes of further protecting said officers.

It’s disappointing – but unsurprising – that after months of waiting, and an answer finally being granted to Kaba’s family, the focus of national conversation has shifted away from the victim.

The safety of police is now the forefront of debate, while a young man lies dead. And it’s not just about Chris Kaba. His murder represents a much greater and insidious issue within British policing.

According to data from the IOPC, Black people are more than twice as likely to die in police custody compared to their white counterparts. This alarming statistic underscores the need for comprehensive reform and accountability measures within the police force.

X user @kelechnekoff also took to the platform to critique the protests by Met Police officers. ‘Being charged for [for killing someone] should never be off the table for anyone. Nobody is above the law. Especially quote unquote ‘law enforcement.’

‘Met police are […] throwing a tantrum because they can’t kill with impunity.’

The military support now being provided for protesting police has added a new layer of complexity to the situation. This development has raised concerns about the convergence of law enforcement and the military and the potential implications for civil liberties and democratic values.

But as of lunchtime on Monday, the Met Police shared on social media: ‘the number of officers who had returned to armed duties was sufficient for us to no longer require assistance to meet our counterterrorism responsibilities.’

In short, the Army was told to stand down. Discussions around armed officers’ demands for more legal protection are ongoing.

‘Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families,’ the Met said, adding that a number of officers had taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they ‘consider their position.’

Rather than the watershed moment it could be, this murder charge is instead an opportunity for the country to address its deeply rooted issues of systemic racism and police accountability.

Enhanced training in de-escalation techniques and crisis intervention would be a starting point for armed officers, along with increased transparency within police operations.

We face a pivotal moment in our national history. With a united effort required from all angles – law enforcement, government, and the media – we must ensure that meaningful reforms are implemented to prevent tragedies like Chris Kaba’s death repeating themselves.