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Many London police officers refuse to carry firearms after colleague charged with murder for fatal on-duty shooting, accused of racism: Report
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Many London police officers refuse to carry firearms after colleague charged with murder for fatal on-duty shooting, accused of racism: Report

More than 100 London police officers have decided to turn in their firearms permits after a colleague was charged with murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Chris Kaba, the BBC reported.

Kaba, a black man, was unarmed when a bullet struck him through the windshield of a car after being pulled over by an unmarked Metropolitan Police Service vehicle last September. The vehicle Kaba was driving did not belong to him and had been linked to a gun incident the day prior, the outlet reported.

The young man's death ignited allegations of racism within the police department. The officer allegedly involved in the shooting, who has not been publicly named, was charged with murder on Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Mark Rowley released a statement following the announcement of the charges.

"On Thursday I met with 70 firearms officers to reflect on the events of this week," Rowley stated. "They were understandably anxious as they consider how others may assess their split second decisions years after the event, with the luxury of as much time as they want to do this, and the effect this can have on them and their families."

The Metropolitan Police Service has over 2,500 armed officers, according to the department. Over the weekend, a source told the BBC that several officers have decided to hand in their firearms permits.

A spokesperson told the outlet, "A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position. That number has increased over the past 48 hours."

"We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have," the spokesperson added.

Metropolitan Police released another statement on Monday claiming that media reports stating firearms officers "have stepped back from armed duties" are "not correct."

"There are armed Met officers, including counterterrorism officers, on duty across London," the department added.

Metropolitan Police stated that many of its officers "are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families."

"They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged," the department continued.

It noted that some officers who had considered stepping away from firearms patrol have decided to return.

A former officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program that the risk for officers and their families "is just too great."

"What is obvious to me, they are not acting out of anger or petulance," he said. "It's not a coordinated protest. These are individuals with partners and families who are incredibly committed to their profession."

"They're incredibly concerned it's not worth it anymore," he added.

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