MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – State Police Trooper Brian North was arraigned at Milford Superior Court on Tuesday on manslaughter charges in the death of 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane.
Close to 100 troopers from several states marched up to the courthouse steps to show their support for North. North walked into court for his arraignment surrounded by dozens of fellow troopers.
“When our troopers are what we believe to be prosecuted for doing their job, we will defend them, we will defend their actions when we believe they are justified in performing their duties to protect the public,” said Andy Matthews, the Executive Director of the State Police Union.
Police say Soulemane carjacked a Lyft driver at knifepoint in Norwalk and led police on a chase up I-95, crashing into police cruisers on the way. Police boxed him in near exit 43 in West Haven, and say Soulemane would not drop the knife. That is when North open-fired into the car, killing Soulemane.
“When video of what happened is shown to a jury, they will come to the same conclusion I have, that this was an execution,” said Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, the lawyer for Soulemane’s family.
The Soulemane family says Mubarak was trapped in the car and posed no threat to police.
“We are calling today for justice,” said Omo Lusum Mohammed, Soulemane’s mother. “I hope justice will be served, to convict Brian North to go to jail, to convict Brian North for being accountable for killing my son.”
During the arraignment, the judge moved the court case to Part A and North’s next court date will be on June 2.
North could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
Once court was over, North and the other troopers walked out to chants of “Justice for Mubarak” from Soulemane family supporters. Those troopers maintain North shot Soulemane because he feared for his life and the lives of his fellow officers.
“When people make split-second decision that others can review over and over again, and form their own judgment of what they did or what they would have done, we have to stand up for our troopers,” Matthews said.
In a release from the Connecticut State Police, officers shared the following sentiment. “We believe Trooper North acted objectively reasonable during this violent encounter and we believe a jury will find reasonable doubt and acquit him of these serious charges.”
Stay tuned to News 8 for updates on this story.