BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The family of Mubarak Soulemane, the 19-year-old man who was shot and killed by a state trooper in West Haven, is filing a major lawsuit.
Thursday, Soulemane’s family announced they are seeking $10 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The family’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein said the family is suing the State of Connecticut, Connecticut State Police, the City of West Haven, and the West Haven Police Department.
Police say, on January 15, Soulemane stole a car at knifepoint in Norwalk and led police on a chase to West Haven. He was shot and killed by Trooper Brian North near the Exit 43 off-ramp of Interstate 95 Northbound in West Haven.
Bodycam video from responding State Troopers shows the moments leading up to his death.
His family argues he was not resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest. They say police had a “reckless disregard for the consequences.”
A news conference was held Thursday at the law offices of Miller & Rosnick in Bridgeport. The family stood with Black Lives Matter representatives from New York City to make the announcement of their lawsuit.
Attorney Sanford Rubenstein of the New York Civil Rights Counsel said Thursday that the most important thing for the family is that Trooper North be held “criminally accountable for his actions in causing the wrongful death” of Soulemane.
Rubenstein explained that the family wants North to be made an example of for other officers across the country.
“If you do what he did, (fire seven shots rapidly into a car that’s already blocked in with the door that’s closed with a window that’s closed), and kill a victim in the car, you will be held accountable criminally.”– Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, New York Civil Rights Counsel
Soulemane’s mother, Omo Klusum Mohammed, lamented that she will never be able to see her son graduate college, never see “his face [light] up on his wedding day.”
“As a grieving mother, I pray no other family has to experience this pain. I pray that no mother has to see this again, and I pray for justice for my Mubarak.”– Soulemane’s mother, Omo Klusum Mohammed
His family argues that Soulemane was not resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest, and wasn’t a threat to anyone inside or outside the car.
They say police had a “reckless disregard for the consequences,” and that West Haven police were active participants in the pursuit and stopping Soulemane’s car.
“There were several West Haven police officers present at the scene and cooler heads should have prevailed.”– Attorney Mark Arons, law firm of Miller&Rosnick
The family and Black Lives Matter say they’re taking their message to the streets and the police department. A march is scheduled for Friday at exit 43 off I-95 in West Haven at 4:30 p.m.