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Comcast’s Sky News apologizes for linking protesters to queen’s mourners

The Comcast-owned satellite news channel Sky News issued an apology this week after a reporter incorrectly said a group protesting the death of a young man shot by police were mourners who had gathered in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The protest was assembled several days after Metropolitan Police in London fatally shot Chris Kaba, an unarmed, 24-year-old Black man who was driving a car that was believed to be connected to a recent crime involving firearms.

Kaba was struck and killed by a single bullet fired by a specialist officer, who has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

On Saturday, a helicopter used by Sky News showed a group of people moving throughout Trafalgar Square in central London as part of a protest over Kaba’s death. The television channel had been broadcasting special coverage of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday at the age of 96.

“There are thousands of people lining that route — it really is an incredible sight,” Sarah-Jane Mee, a Sky News presenter who was anchoring the channel’s coverage of public reaction to the queen’s death, said as the helicopter was over the crowd. “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.”

Later in the day, a spokesperson for the satellite news channel apologized for the incorrect correlation between the queen’s death and the mourners.

“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,” the spokesperson said. “We have also issued a correction on air to clarify the footage previously shown.”

Mee took to twitter to issue her own apology a short time later.

“I made a mistake on air,” Mee wrote. “I wrongly identified crowds in Trafalgar Square as some of the thousands headed to the palace, when at that moment it was people turning out for Chris Kaba. I’d like to personally apologize to those involved — we are covering the march and its significance later today.”

A commissioner with the Metropolitan Police said they are treating Kaba’s death as a homicide by police and have launched an investigation into what happened.

“This shooting is a matter of grave concern, particularly for our black communities,” the police commissioner, Amanda Pearson, said. “I also know what a difficult and often dangerous job firearms officers in particular do every day to try to protect the public. They understand and expect that on the very rare occasions they discharge their weapons they will face intense scrutiny. I don’t underestimate the impact on them of this development.”

The inquiry has the support of several public figures in the United Kingdom, including London Mayor Saqid Khan, who said he will “continue to push” for answers following the young man’s death.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).