After Chris Kaba: The church, gang violence and the police
In the first weeks of September, two people died. The first was Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by the police in South London. Just three days later, Queen Elizabeth II also died. As a result, Kaba’s death and the anger it provoked very quickly slipped off the front pages. But the case merits more exploration, and in particular considering what role Christian leaders are or should be playing in the aftermath of another killing of a young black man by British police officers.
The church has long been seen as an interface between Britain’s black community and the police, but how can they be salt and light in this complex and fractious relationship? Should pastors be drawing more attention to accusations of racism among the police and shifting to a more prophetic role, challenging the authorities? Or could the church do more to tackle gang crime and violence at the source and hopefully prevent these tragic confrontations with the law from ever occurring? This week we’re hearing two perspectives on this painful topic, from the founder of Street Pastors Les Isaac, and the Christian former gang member Sheldon Thomas.