WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A Connecticut State Trooper was charged with manslaughter in a deadly shooting in West Haven.
Mubarak Soulemane, 19, was killed in January of 2020. Investigators say it all started with a carjacking in Norwalk, then a chase to West Haven, ending with Soulemane being killed.
The video above is from an older newscast.
Trooper Brian North turned himself in on Tuesday night and now he’s free on a $50,000 bond. As for the teen’s family, they say this is a big step towards getting justice.
Newly released reports shed more light on what unfolded back on Jan. 15, 2020.
Investigators say Soulemane stole a Lyft driver’s car at knifepoint, leading police on a high-speed chase from Norwalk into West Haven. They say attempts were made to get Soulemane out of the car and to drop the knife. Ultimately, the teen was shot to death and State Police Trooper Brian North has now been charged with manslaughter.
The arrest warrant states North initially said he fired those deadly shots once Soulemane pulled out the knife, but later said in a written statement submitted by his attorney that he did so because his fellow officers, “…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’s actions were subject to review by the newly appointed Inspector General. The inspector general says he found, “At the time Trooper North fired his weapon, neither he nor any other person was in imminent danger of serious injury or death from a knife attack at the hands of Soulemane. I, therefore, find that North’s use of deadly force was not justified under Connecticut Law.”
On Wednesday, News 8 spoke with the Connecticut State Police Union.
“No trooper or police officer in Connecticut, that we’re aware of, ever intends to come to work and take the life of another human being. That’s traumatic for everyone involved, the Soulemane family, no one intended for that to happen. Our condolences go out to them,” said Andrew Matthews, Executive Director of The Connecticut State Police Union. “I can assure you, Trooper North didn’t intend to try to take someone’s life when he came to work that day.”
They say they’re disappointed with this decision, as they say, North was risking his own life while trying to protect the lives of others.
“It’s easy to second guess split-second decisions and that’s the most difficult thing for us, but we respect the judicial process, and we recognize the Inspector General has the right to do what he has decided to do,” Matthews said.
An attorney for the Soulemane family says they’re pleased with this outcome, saying this is the right step in the journey for justice.
“They’ve had this terrible cloud hanging over their head for over two years. No closure. They’ve been literally praying for this outcome all this time. All the hard work they’ve done over the past two years has now paid off,” said Mark Arons, attorney for the Soulemane family.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker issued a statement Wednesday, saying the following:
“Mubarak Soulemane’s death is a tragedy, and he should still be alive and with us today. I have watched the video of the incident many times which leads so many of us to believe that the trooper’s actions were unjustified. This is now reenforced by the charges brought by the Inspector General. Law enforcement officers are committed to keeping our community safe and we are grateful for the work they do on behalf of our community. And it is critical that all our law enforcement officers are held to a high standard. The state trooper’s arrest, and the due process that will follow, will help ensure that there is accountability for Mubarak’s death and that justice will be served on his behalf and for his family.”
North is on paid administrative leave and his police powers have been suspended. He will be in court next month.
See the full report by the Office of the Inspector General below: