A Connecticut state trooper has been arrested for the fatal shooting of a motorist after a high-speed car chase in 2020.
On January 15, 2020, Connecticut state police said 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane stole a vehicle and led troopers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 before troopers boxed the vehicle in.
Body cam footage showed the troopers surrounding Soulemane’s vehicle where the chase ended. A West Haven police officer broke the passenger window and attempted to shoot Soulemane with a Taser, which did not work.
According to police, Trooper Brian North then fired seven times into the vehicle through a closed driver side window because he claims he saw Soulemane reach for something. Troopers said they later found a knife in the car.
After a more than two-year long investigation, the State of Connecticut Office of Inspector General found the shooting to be unjustified and charged North with first-degree manslaughter. He was arrested on Tuesday and released on a $50,000 bond. North was placed on paid administrative leave and his police powers were suspended.
In a report released Wednesday morning, Inspector General Robert Devlin’s office said the shooting was not justified.
“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,” the report said. “Further, any belief that persons were in such danger was not reasonable.”
The report also included a statement given by North who said, Soulemane was “holding the knife in an aggressive manner” and appeared to be preparing to attack other officers who were outside the car.
“Based on these circumstances, I believed that (the other 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. As a result, I discharged my duty firearm to eliminate the threat,” the statement said.
According to his family, Soulemane was a community college student who had schizophrenia. Soulemane’s mother, Omo Mohammed, has a pending wrongful death lawsuit against North and other officers who were at the scene.
“Thank God Trooper Brian North was arrested,” Mohammed said in a statement provided by her lawyers. “I now want to see him convicted and sent to jail.”
North is scheduled to be arraigned May 3 in Milford Superior Court.