NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Before the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis,
Connecticut was roiled by the police-involved shooting of 19-year-old Mubarak Souleman and the protests that followed.
Thursday, Soulemane’s family spoke exclusively to News 8 about their son’s case, the ongoing investigation, and how they felt watching the video of Floyd’s death for our State of Race report.
“The first time I saw that video, I didn’t want to see it again. It was so painful and devastating for any mother to see her child dying like that,” said Omo Mohammed.
Video of George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis cop exposed a layer of pain beneath the flesh of an entire nation. For Omo Mohammed, it seared her right to her soul, still raw from her own teenage son’s death at the hands of a Connecticut State Trooper.
“The most painful thing is when he was calling for his mom. That was the most painful moment for me.”
Her son Muburak was shot and killed by Trooper Brian North on January 15, 2020 after an alleged car jacking and police chase that began in Fairfield County and ended in West Haven. Body camera footage shows North firing seven times through a closed driver’s side window.
State police say the teen was armed with a knife and that he was reaching for it. Soulemane’s loved ones say he had mental health issues.
North was the only officer to open fire. Two State’s attorney’s are investigating the use of deadly force.
Soulemane’s death led to civil rights protests that have gained added momentum in the weeks following Floyd’s death. Mohammed finds herself dispensing advice no mother ever wants to share, or receive.
“It’s hard. I wouldn’t want any mother to be in this position. It’s very hard. But when it happens to you, you have to take it one day at a time. That’s all you can do. It’s not easy. It will never go away. There’s pain every day. And especially at this moment, whenever you
hear somebody was taken in this path, it’s more painful. It’s like it’s a pattern. It keeps going on in the same way. It needs to stop,” said Mohammed.
Soulemane’s siblings say they will continue their fight for police reform.
“It’s my duty, and I won’t stop. It’s my brother and I love him, and I loved him, and the way he was taken from us is not just,” said Marianne Soulemane, his sister.
“We have to make sure we keep staying in the media’s face, staying in the state of Connecticut’s face, the whole nation,” said Saeed Soulemane, his brother.
Trooper North remains on desk duty. State police documents obtained by News 8 shows he has no previous disciplinary record.
In a statement to News 8, Middlesex State’s Attorney Michael Gailor, who is leading the investigation into his death, says he continues to investigate and is in contact with the Soulemane family.