The Chief Executive of ‘Mind’ – the mental health charity – has issued a statement following a series of tweets in the wake of the officer-involved shooting of Chris Kaba.
24-year-old Chris Kaba – a well-known drill rap artist – died after a police pursuit ended in Streatham Hill on Monday, 5th September.
Initial reports suggest that the Audi that Kaba was driving had been linked to a firearms incident that had occurred in the previous days.
Some reports in the mainstream media have mentioned that the Audi was not registered to Mr Kaba without realising that the vast majority of firearms markers are placed on the vehicle registration mark of a car via Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) rather than being placed solely on the registered keeper.
When the Audi passed through a set of Automatic Number Plate Readers (ANPR), officers in the area were alerted to the vehicle’s presence.
Several Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs) made their way to the scene and quickly located the Audi. But when officers indicated for the Audi to stop, it failed to do so.
A pursuit ensued, ending when the fleeing Audi was boxed in.
No details have been released regarding the nature of the firearms incident that happened in the days leading up to the incident or the intelligence linked to the Audi that Kaba was driving.
It is understood that Mr Kaba had recently been released from prison after serving a custodial sentence for firearms offences.
Following the death of Mr Kaba, Mind – which operates a dedicated ‘Blue Light’ counselling services for members of the emergency services – published a series of tweets:
In the Tweets, a spokesperson for Mind said:
‘We need to talk about Chris Kaba.
‘The killing of an unarmed Black man by a police officer is hard to bear. Especially when young Black men die disproportionately at the hands of the police [source: Inquest].
‘The Queen’s death is dominating the news right now, but Chris Kaba deserves our attention.
‘Racial trauma is real. And events like Chris Kaba’s death can be incredibly triggering. If you’re struggling with the news, please reach out. We’re here for you.’
Responding to the Tweet, one social media user said:
‘Wow. You’ve just slammed the door in the faces of those in the emergency services who needed your help. You’ve appointed yourself judge & jury. Dreadful tweet. I for one have turned to MIND before. Never again.’
‘I do not think @MindCharity can support police officers via @mindbluelight any longer.
‘It’s clear they’ve lost their neutrality and objectivity.
‘Officers who are at rock bottom can’t be supported by those they feel are against them.’
One Twitter user called the tweets ‘disgusting’ when they wrote:
‘This is absolutely disgusting.
‘I’ve donated plenty to Mind throughout my service and have used their services after traumatic jobs.
‘To see that they are proving themselves biased and prejudiced against officers based on an ongoing investigation is absolutely pathetic.’
Responding to the concerns raised by emergency workers, regarding what appeared to be a lack of support for first responders, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“It’s important that we talk about difficult issues and, as a charity committed to anti-racism, we understand that sometimes people won’t always agree.
“The post Mind shared yesterday was intended to support anyone affected by the news of Chris Kaba’s death. Supporting one group does not exclude another. We are here for everyone. We are very proud of the Blue Light programme we deliver in partnership to support our emergency services. Our support for the mental health of the police force is also unwavering.
“We understand that many police officers feel from the post that we are not there to support them, which was not our intention. Nor is it our intention to comment on an ongoing investigation nor to imply any conclusions about the circumstances of this case. We are sorry that some of our wording has given that impression. We understand this is an extremely difficult time and are very committed to our work supporting the mental health of police officers and other emergency services personnel.
“Sometimes the focus of our communications will be on one issue and sometimes on another. On this occasion, we felt it was important to focus on racial trauma which we know can be triggered by events in the news.
“Mind is here to make sure that no-one faces a mental health problem alone.”