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Chris Kaba: Demonstrators hold rally in Oxford

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 20, 2022

Demonstrators took to Oxford city centre in a rally against racism and police brutality.

The protesters gathered following the death of Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old unarmed black man by a Metropolitan Police officer, in Streatham Hill, London on September 5.

Mr Kaba died after a single shot by a firearms officer, who has since been suspended from duty by the Met.

READ MORE: Thames Valley knife crime sentences decrease

Oxford Mail: The protesters set up a stall in Oxford city centre The protesters set up a stall in Oxford city centre

The 24-year-old had been involved in a police pursuit after the car he was driving was flagged on an automatic camera system, indicating it had been involved in an offence.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the shooting and will consider if race was a factor in Mr Kaba’s death.

On Saturday (September 17) the protesters set up a stall in Bonn Square and held pink placards which read ‘Justice For Chris Kaba’.

Pat Carmody of Oxford Stand Up Against Racist, said: “We know from young black people in Oxford the level of harassment is no different to what you get in London.

“We’re going to see a lot more of it. The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act provides for more stop and search [as part of new court orders allowing police to search those with previous convictions for knife or weapons offences], despite the fact we know full well that there’s a huge disparity with particularly young black people being stopped and searched.”

One man, a 22-year-old who gave his name as Harry, alleged he was 12-years-old when Thames Valley Police came to his mum’s house to search it ‘without a warrant’.

When his mother, who is black, attempted to prevent them from gaining entry to the property she was detained and, in a struggle, bit one of the officers before she was ‘dragged through the street in her underwear, a public humiliation’.

Oxford Mail: Demonstrators held up signs that read 'Justice For Chris Kaba'Demonstrators held up signs that read 'Justice For Chris Kaba'

The officers later failed to attend court ‘twice’ for her mother’s trial, he claimed.

He had been out with his half-brother, a man of colour, when he had been stopped by the police.

“There needs to be accountability. What they did was effectively batter my mum and nothing was done about it,” Harry said.

“For me, I came to the view the police are institutionally racist.”

David Gohart, of Black Lives Matter, said deaths like that of Mr Kaba: “It doesn’t just affect London, it affects the country as a whole.”

Harry, stood next to him, added: “Police brutality is a national issue.”

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Amanda Pearson said: "We continue to fully support the IOPC investigation as they work to establish the facts and try to answer the many questions Mr Kaba's family and others have around his tragic death.

A coroner's inquest into the death is due to open on 4 October.

Oxford Mail: People also held up Black Lives Matter signs People also held up Black Lives Matter signs

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: “The decision to take away someone’s liberty should never be taken lightly; therefore we use stop and search so we can allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without having to use the power of arrest.

“Our officers follow strict guidance on stop and search, and we, alongside our Independent Advisory Groups scrutinise our searches, for example by viewing the body worn footage from officers involved.

“We know our communities want us to use these powers responsibly and appropriately and we regularly review the data, including ethnicity data, to understand how police powers affect particular communities or groups.

“We’d be very keen to hear from those with views on our powers, and would welcome them getting in touch so they can be part of our scrutiny process to help us learn and make changes.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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