On Tuesday, a Connecticut state trooper was arrested more than two years after he fatally shot a motorist who was boxed in by police after a high-speed chase.
State Trooper Brian North has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of Mubarak Soulemane, 19, in West Haven on Jan. 15, 2020, the state’s inspector generals said in a news release.
North has been released on bond and has since been placed on paid administrative leave and his police powers were suspended while the criminal proceedings continue, state police said in a statement.
Connecticut police said Soulemane stole a vehicle in the 2020 incident and led troopers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 before troopers boxed the vehicle in. A West Haven police officer smashed the passenger window before a trooper made an attempt to shoot Soulemane with a Taser, which did not work, according to body camera footage from state police at the scene.
The NAACP and Soulemane’s family protested the shooting, saying North should not have shot Soulemane because he was surrounded by police and could not escape. The family said police should have tried to de-escalate the situation and that the community college student had schizophrenia.
“The family of Mubarak Soulemane is very happy that, after 2+ years, Trooper Brian North … may be brought to justice,” Marl Arons, a lawyer for Soulemane’s family said in a statement, calling Soulemane’s death a murder. “It’s a long road ahead. But this is a good day.”
The Connecticut State Police Union said the trooper was forced to do exactly what he was trained to do under these circumstances when he used deadly force,” according to its statement.
“Trooper North was risking his own life while trying to fulfill his oath of office to protect the lives of others,” the union said in a statement. “Regardless of the inspector general’s decision, we will respect the judicial process while we vigorously defend Trooper North and his actions.”