A Connecticut state trooper has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of a teen in 2020 in West Haven, according to the inspector general.
Connecticut State Trooper Brian North has been charged with manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm after the shooting death of Mubarak Soulemane in West Haven on Jan. 15, 2020, according to Inspector General Robert J. Devlin, Jr.
"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," Devin's report says.
North shot and killed the 19-year-old Soulemane in West Haven after a chase. He was arrested Tuesday, according to state police, and he was placed on leave after his arrest.
State police said Soulemane carjacked a vehicle in Norwalk and led police on a chase on Interstate 95 to West Haven. State police 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.
On Tuesday, an attorney for Soulemane's family, Mark Arons, released a statement on Tuesday.
"The family of Mubarak Soulemane is very happy that, after 2+ years, Trooper Brian North, who murdered Mubarak in West Haven in January 2020, may be brought to justice. It's a long road ahead. But this is a good day," Arons said in a statement.
Soulemane's family is planning to hold a news conference to discuss the trooper's arrest Thursday. His mother, Omo Mohammed, released a statement Wednesday.
"Thank God Trooper Brian North was arrested. I now want to see him convicted and sent to jail," she said.
"It's clear to us and it has been from the beginning that the shooting of Mubarak was completely unjustified and unnecessary," Arons said in an interview.
North was released on $50,000 bond and is expected to appear in Milford Superior Court on May 3.
Officials said this investigation predated the creation of the Office of the Inspector General. Inspectors from the Division of Criminal Justice were the principal investigators.
"Despite this having been a terrible tragedy for their family, they're thrilled with the result. It's been a big cloud over their head for the last 2+ years, so now they can finally take something of a sigh of relief catch their breath," Arons said.
"It's especially difficult to get a conviction of a law enforcement officer but I think the facts and circumstances warrant a conviction and they remain hopeful," he continued.
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Gov. Ned Lamont released a statement on Wednesday morning.
"I signed the police accountability bill nearly two years for situations just like this one. By having an independent IG (Inspector General) who investigates cases instead of police investigating other police, the public can be more confident in the officers who serve and protect them. 99.9% of the police across our state do a great job and deserve our trust. The process we’re seeing play out now is methodical, and we’ll leave it to our courts to now serve justice," Lamont said in a statement.
The Connecticut State Police Union issued a statement on Wednesday morning.
"We are disappointed that the Inspector General has made the decision to prosecute a Trooper, who was forced to make a split-second decision during these dangerous and rapidly evolving circumstances. Trooper North was risking his own life while trying to fulfill his oath of office to protect the lives of others. Regardless of the Inspector General’s decision, we will respect the judicial process while we vigorously defend Trooper North and his actions," the statement from the union says, in part.
"It is our obligation to protect Trooper North’s constitutional right to due process of law and a fair trial. We hope everyone reserves judgment until all facts are known in this case and we thank the public for their continued support of law enforcement here in Connecticut," the statement goes on to state.
Andrew Matthews, the executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union, said this is a difficult situation for everybody.
“It’s tragic for everybody involved, including the Soulemane family,” Matthews said, offering condolences.
He said no trooper or police officer in the state of Connecticut or anywhere in this country intends to ever take someone’s life and it is tragic for everybody.
North's attorney said he's unable to comment.
See the full report below.