British police officer named in Chris Kaba murder pleads not guilty | Police News

Judge lifts officer Martyn Blake’s anonymity because there are no ‘immediate’ threats to his safety.

A British police officer, named for the first time as Martyn Blake, has pleaded not guilty to the murder in 2022 of Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old Black man.

Kaba, who was unarmed, was driving in Streatham Hill, south London, on September 5, 2022, when he was stopped by police firearms specialists. He was shot in the head through the car windscreen and died the following day.

The officer who shot Kaba was previously identified only by the codename NX121 because he had faced some threats to his safety.

However, Judge Mark Lucraft lifted his anonymity on Friday, saying there was no “real and immediate risk” to Blake after analysing the threats.

Blake, 40, entered his not-guilty plea on Friday at London’s Old Bailey court, where he will stand trial on October 2.

Members of Kaba’s family were in the courtroom during the brief hearing.

The killing of Kaba triggered widespread protests and anger among the country’s Black community, and reignited a national conversation about racism within the police force, as well as the need for reform.

The police said at the time that his car had been stopped after his registration number was “linked to a firearms offence in the previous days”.

Black Lives Matter UK welcomed the naming of Blake as “a positive development” but said, “we cannot ignore the trauma and pain inflicted” on the Kaba family which “has endured the anguish of seeking answers and accountability for the extrajudicial killing of their loved one”.

The group posted on X that this “serves as a reckoning” for the police. “No longer can they hide behind anonymity while inflicting harm and terror upon our communities. Police officers must be held to account.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Federation said it was “hugely shocked, saddened and concerned over the decision to name the firearms officer involved in this incident”.

Federation chair Rick Prior said that “being a firearms officer in London is one of the world’s toughest jobs. Officers, who volunteer for the role, know the responsibility and accountability that comes with it. It is a job like no other and they need fairness when it comes to scrutiny.”

Last March, an independent review of London’s Metropolitan Police Service – Britain’s biggest police force – said it was institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic.

The review, which was commissioned after a young woman was raped and killed by a serving officer, said the force must “change itself” or risk being broken up.

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