The Connecticut State Police trooper charged in the death of a teenager in West Haven back in 2020 appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday. His case was continued to June.
Trooper Brian North is charged with manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane following a police chase that ended in West Haven in January of 2020.
North was arraigned in Milford Superior Court where his case was continued to June 2. He was quiet as attorneys introduced themselves to the judge. North did not enter a plea.
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Prior to Tuesday's arraignment, the state police union sent a memo out to police across the state asking them to come to Milford and march with North to the courthouse to show their support. Dozens of police officers showed up.
The police union has been supporting North since he was brought up on first degree manslaughter charges last month.
Union leaders said North acted objectively during a violent encounter when he was forced to make a split-second decision during dangerous and rapidly evolving circumstances.
Last month, Inspector General Robert J. Devlin, Jr. released a report about the shooting saying in part, "Stated briefly, the investigation establishes that, 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. Further, any belief that persons were in such danger was not reasonable. I therefore find that North’s use of deadly force was not justified under Connecticut law."
North was arrested on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, and was placed on leave after his arrest. He was released on $50,000 bond. North is the first police officer in more than a decade to be charged with a deadly shooting.
Soulemane's family was at the courthouse before and after North's arraignment. It was the first time they will see Trooper North face to face since he shot Mubarak two years ago.
"It wouldn't be easy for me as a mother, any mother, who would have a chance to see a person who murdered her son, her child. Wouldn't be easy," said Soulemane's mother Omo Klusum Mohammed.
"Brian North is still alive with his family. Even if Brian North goes to jail, I will never get my son so that has nothing to do with me. If they're going to march then let Brian North bring my son Mubarak back. That would mean something to me. But for them marching and protesting for Brian North, bring him to justice, that has nothing to do with me," Klusum Mohammed added.
Justice for Mubarak supporters were also at the courthouse for a rally.
What Led Up to the Shooting
State police said Soulemane carjacked a vehicle in Norwalk on January 15, 2020, and led police on a chase on Interstate 95 to West Haven. Troopers were able to box in the car Soulemane was driving.
State police body camera video showed a West Haven officer smashing out the passenger door window before another trooper shot Soulemane with a stun gun. Trooper North then fired his gun through the driver's door window when Soulemane displayed a knife, state police said.
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