NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A rally for justice was held in New Haven on Tuesday in honor of 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane, who was killed during an officer-involved shooting in West Haven.
Soulemane was shot and killed by Trooper Brian North after he reportedly stole a car at knifepoint. His family insists he was mentally ill.
Friends, family, and about a hundred protesters rallied in New Haven and marched to the police department Tuesday in search of one thing: justice.
Last year, there were four, fatal, use-of-force shootings by police throughout the state. This year, in only three weeks there have been three.
In the crowd, New Haven’s Police Chief and Mayor Elicker.
Elicker said he has watched the body camera footage from the incident, and he addressed the crowd about what he saw:
“I saw the video, and I’m outraged by the video. And I’m not a law enforcement officer, but I can be pretty confident that actions taken by the officer were not what should have been done.”– Mayor Justin Elicker, New Haven
“We need to look at the whole picture, so not just the split second,” Dan Barrett with the American Civil Liberties Union said of the video of the incident. “What led up to that. When did the employee decide to insert themselves into the situation that created the situation where force was necessary?”
“Sometimes it takes a tragedy for people to notice what is actually happening,” said Reverend Dr. Boise Kimber, who represents Soulemane’s family.
Tuesday, Kimber and Soulemane’s relatives met with the department’s top cop, Commissioner James Rovella, to discuss changes they’d like to see the state police make.
Among them were improving de-escalation training, diversity and implicit bias training, a review of the new curriculum and affirmative action policy, and more African American officers in command staff.
“You’ve got 900 troopers, and there’s only one black that’s in leadership,” Kimber said.
They also want Trooper North off desk duty and at home while the investigation into the use of force continues.
Overall, the family representative called the meeting productive.
“So, now we know a little more about the department than we knew in the past, and so that gives us an opportunity to follow up with then to make sure there are some changes made.”
North has until Wednesday to review body and dash camera footage and submit his report on the incident.