WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A state trooper was charged with manslaughter in the first degree on Wednesday in connection with a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened in West Haven in 2020.

Connecticut State Police Trooper Brian North was arrested Tuesday for shooting and killing 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane after an alleged carjacking and high-speed police chase in January of 2020. On Wednesday, he was charged with manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm.

North was released on a $50,000 bond and is due in Milford Superior Court on May 3.

In a new report released on Wednesday, Inspector General Robert J. Devlin Jr. said that only 36 seconds elapsed between North taking a position next to the driver’s window and firing his gun through the window. According to the report, North broke the window in order to communicate with Soulemane and to “facilitate the use of less lethal means to gain control of him.”

In the report, North said that Soulemane was “moving and holding the knife in an aggressive manner” and it looked like he was going to attack either Trooper Jackson or the West Haven officer on-scene.

“Based on these circumstances, I believed that Tpr. Jackson and the West Haven Officer were at imminent risk of serious physical injury or death, and could have been stabbed in the neck or face as they attempted to enter the vehicle and remove the suspect,” North said in the report. “As a result, I discharged my duty firearm to eliminate the threat.”

Devlin Jr. said that Soulemane could not open the driver’s door enough to exit the car because Jackson’s cruiser had blocked him in, so “even though he held a knife, he posed no imminent threat to North.”

“A reasonable police officer would have realized that the police were in control of the situation and the opportunity existed to take a tactical pause to explore the use of methods other than deadly force,” Devlin Jr. said.

Additionally, Devlin Jr. questioned the seven shots fired by North, noting that “it is certainly possible that one shot might have disabled Soulemane from attacking others, yet not kill him.”

“The law is clear that 20/20 hindsight is inappropriate in evaluating an officer’s conduct given the split-second decisions officers must make in dangerous situations,” Devlin Jr. said. “The law is also clear, however, that the officer’s conduct must be reasonable to be justified. In the present case, that standard of reasonableness was not met.”

Police bodycam footage from that night shows what happened in January 2020.

The video above is from a previous newscast.

North shot Soulemane after police said Soulemane carjacked a driver in Norwalk and led police on a wild chase into West Haven.

Police said Soulemane was armed with a knife. North fired several shots through a closed driver’s side window.

Soulemane died from his wounds.

Mubarak Soulemane (Photo: Soulemane family)

State police said North turned himself into the Inspector General at State Police Barracks Troop I – Bethany on Tuesday.

According to state police, North has been placed on administrative leave and his police powers have been suspended pending criminal proceedings.

News 8 reached out to the Connecticut State Police Union. They said the following in part in a statement Tuesday night:

We are disappointed that the Inspector General has made the decision to prosecute a Trooper, who was forced to make a split-second decision during these dangerous and rapidly evolving circumstances. Trooper North was risking his own life while trying to fulfill his oath of office to protect the lives of others. Regardless of the Inspector General’s decision, we will respect the judicial process while we vigorously defend Trooper North and his actions. It is our obligation to protect Trooper North’s constitutional right to due process of law and a fair trial. We hope everyone reserves judgment until all facts are known in this case and we thank the public for their continued support of law enforcement here in Connecticut.

Connecticut State Police Union

The lawyers representing the Soulemane family said the following in a statement Tuesday night: “This is the first step in the journey for justice for the wrongful killing of a 19-year-old black youth in Connecticut on Jan. 15, 2020. The family looks forward on this matter being tried and this state trooper being convicted.”

See the full report by the Office of the Inspector General below:

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