3 October 2023 

The Metropolitan Police officer charged with the murder of Chris Kaba has applied to the court to be granted anonymity in the criminal proceedings. INQUEST believes this is not in the interests of open justice.

Chris Kaba, 24, was fatally shot by a firearms officer from the Metropolitan Police over one year ago on 5 September 2022 in Streatham, London. He was an unarmed Black man.

The officer is known only as NX121 at this stage. The application for anonymity is due to be heard at the Old Bailey on Wednesday morning (4 October). 

No on-duty police officer has ever been found guilty of murder or manslaughter in relation to a police shooting, despite critical evidence arising from inquests, inquiries, and investigations. 

This is the twelfth murder and/or manslaughter charge to have been brought against an on-duty police officer involved in a death since 1990, and the fourth murder charge to be brought in relation to a police shooting. 

Only one of these prosecutions has resulted in an officer being found guilty of manslaughter, following the death of Dalian Atkinson. 

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, said: “Anonymity for police officers involved in deaths goes against the principles of an open and transparent justice system. 

All too often we see that attempts are made in the media to blame victims of police shootings for their own deaths.

The person who will be on trial in this case is a police officer and public servant. The public and Chris’ family should know their name when they stand trial for murder.

The court must be allowed to do its job without external threats, which appear to be designed to undermine the evidence-based decisions of the Crown Prosecution Service and the court itself.

Accountability for police officers is a vital part of our democracy but, despite the evidence of wrongdoing by police in the past, it is extremely rare.

The rule of law must apply equally to police officers, not least when their actions have resulted in death.”



Contact Lucy McKay on [email protected] or 020 7263 1111

Follow the Justice for Chris Kaba campaign here.

Chris’s family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Daniel Machover and Ellie Cornish of Hickman & Rose solicitors, and Matthew Ryder and Ifeanyi Odogwu of Matrix Chambers. The INQUEST caseworker is Head of Casework, Anita Sharma.

Since 1990 there have been 1,870 deaths recorded by INQUEST in or following police custody or contact. In that time only one officer has been found guilty of manslaughter in 2021, and none for murder.

Dalian Atkinson, 48, died on 15 August 2016, following use of force by officers of West Mercia police. PC Benjamin Monk was found guilty of his manslaughter, reduced from murder, and was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2021. More information.

In total there have been 12 murder or manslaughter prosecutions brought relating to on duty police officers, including this prosecution of NX121 and the successful prosecution in the Dalian Atkinson case. 

The ten other murder and manslaughter charges did not result in successful prosecutions. Three of these previous cases related to police shootings (this is the fourth), two of which were by Metropolitan Police officers.

Both successful and unsuccessful prosecutions have also been brought following deaths in police contact under Health and Safety legislation.

Other criminal charges against officers, such as perjury and misconduct in public office, have been brought following deaths in custody. Most have led to acquittals or not guilty verdicts.

Since 1990, a total of 80 people have been fatally shot by the police in England and Wales.
There have been three other murder or manslaughter prosecutions following police shootings:

  •  David Ewin was fatally shot by police in Barnes, London in February 1995. The Metropolitan Police officer who shot him was found not guilty of both the murder and manslaughter of David in 1997. It was the third time the officer had faced trial, after previous juries failed to reach a verdict.
  • James Ashley was fatally shot in his bedroom by police in 1998 in St Leonards, East Sussex. PC Sherwood was charged following an investigation into the death. Four other Sussex officers were charged with other offences. In 2001, the trials collapsed and no officer was found guilty of any criminal charge.
  • Azelle Rodney was fatally shot by a Metropolitan police officer in 2005 during a hard stop in North London. Following the public inquiry into the death, which found the officer did not have a lawful justification for killing Azelle, the officer was prosecuted with murder. In 2015, that officer was found not guilty by a majority verdict.