Police charged an 18-year-old man with conspiracy to murder on Friday following a shooting that left Sasha Johnson, a prominent UK Black Lives Matter activist, critically ill in hospital.
London’s Metropolitan Police announced the charge against Cameron Deriggs, who had been arrested along with four other men on Wednesday.
The others were released on bail until a date in late June.
Johnson, 27, was shot in the head in the early hours of Sunday May 23, while at a party in Peckham, south London. She helped to organise last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, which attracted thousands of people to protest against police brutality.
Police indicated earlier in the week that a shooting had occurred at 3am, with a firearm being discharged outside the house in which the party was being held.
Following the shooting Johnson underwent surgery but police said on Friday that she remained “critically ill”. Supporters have placed banners outside King’s College Hospital, in south London, to show their support.
Johnson, a graduate of Ruskin College in Oxford, calls herself “the black panther of Oxford”.
The shooting reignited debate about violence against black people and police attitudes towards the problem in the week marking the first anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, the black man whose murder by a white police officer in Minneapolis gave fresh impetus to the global BLM movement.
Activists believe that the high turnout at last year’s protests in the UK, some of which attracted tens of thousands of people, reflects the declining confidence of many of the UK’s black people in the police.
In a regular survey in London by the mayor’s office of police and crime, the proportion of black people saying in surveys that they trusted the force to treat everyone fairly fell 18 percentage points to 52 per cent in the year to March 31. For white British people, the figure rose 1 percentage point, to 71 per cent.
Deriggs is due to appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on Saturday.
The Metropolitan Police said they were still eager for anyone with information about the case to contact them.