Police group clash with mental health charity over ‘opportunistic and insensitive’ tweets
A staff association representing thousands of police officers has hit out at “opportunistic and insensitive” tweets by a mental health charity following the death of Chris Kaba.
Mind faced criticism after a series of tweets in which it offered support to anyone suffering racial trauma following the fatal shooting of the father of one by police.
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which represents more than 130,000 officers up to the rank of chief inspector, called the content “alienating and divisive”.
The charity 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.
“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.”
Mr Kaba (pictured) died at the end of a police chase when the Audi he was driving was hemmed in by two police cars in Streatham Hill, south London.
The car had been flagged by automatic numberplate recognition as being connected to a previous firearms incident, but was not registered to Mr Kaba.
Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is leading a homicide investigation into the shooting, and the Metropolitan Police marksman involved has been suspended.
A spokesman for the Police Federation said: “The tweets, given the unknown circumstances, are opportunistic and insensitive.
“Making any inferences about racial prejudice is both inappropriate and irresponsible prior to the outcome of a full and thorough investigation.
“It is disappointing to see this from a reputable charity who also claim to look after the mental health of emergency service workers.
“There are alternative ways to offer support for those struggling with this news, without driving criticism towards an emergency service.
“The content is alienating and divisive to all police officers who also require mental health support. It is important to remember that police officers are people too.
“PFEW feel compelled to respond on behalf of our members but will not be commenting further during this period of national mourning.”
Relatives of Mr Kaba are holding a protest in central London on Saturday and have encouraged campaigners elsewhere in the UK to do the same.
They have asked the IOPC to see the police video footage linked to the shooting.
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Inquest / PA.