Sky News apologises for report mistaking protest for royal crowds

Sarah-Jane Mee mistook a march at Trafalgar Square for Chris Kaba, who was shot by a Met officer

Sky News has apologised after one of its reporters incorrectly told viewers that a protest march following the killing of Chris Kaba, who was shot by a Metropolitan police officer on Monday, was instead a gathering of people marking the death of the Queen.

Demonstrators, including Kaba’s family, had been protesting in central London after the unarmed 24-year-old was shot by a Met firearms officer in south London.

Kaba had been travelling in an Audi that was not registered to him, when he was boxed in by two police cars in Streatham Hill. He was shot once by an officer while sitting in the car. He died in hospital on Tuesday.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has since opened a homicide investigation. Kaba’s family have demanded that the officer involved be suspended while an investigation takes place.

Footage from a helicopter showed a mass of people moving through Trafalgar Square in central London on Saturday afternoon. The TV channel had been airing extensive live coverage of events in Balmoral, Windsor and Buckingham Palace two days after the Queen died.

Sarah-Jane Mee, who was anchoring the station’s coverage, said: “Look at that, look at the crowds of people winding their way down … they’ll be working their way up the Mall, and what a walk there is.

“There are thousands of people lining that route, it really is an incredible sight. They’ll work their way up the Mall, very slowly, meeting new friends along the way, talking about their journey here, their memories of the Queen, their good wishes for the new King.”

Instead the protest was for Kaba. Thousands of people, including Labour politicians Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy and musician Stormzy, took part, with some holding placards saying “Justice for Chris Kaba” and “Black Lives Matter”, that could be seen on the Sky footage. Other protests have taken place in the days after Kaba was killed, including outside Brixton police station.

A Sky News spokesperson apologised, as did Mee. She tweeted: “I made a mistake on air. I wrongly identified crowds in Trafalgar Sq as some of the 1000s heading to Palace when at that moment it was people turning out for Chris Kaba.

“I’d like to personally apologise to those involved. We are covering the march & its significance later today.”

A Sky News spokesperson said: “We apologise for a mistake made earlier today which accidentally misidentified aerial pictures of a protest march for Chris Kaba as a large gathering paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth. We have also issued a correction on air to clarify the footage previously shown.”


Harry Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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