Posted on April 29, 2022

A Connecticut Trooper Who Shot a Black Driver to Death Is Charged With Manslaughter

Associated Press, April 20, 2022

A Connecticut state trooper who fired seven gunshots into a car and killed a man in 2020 after a high-speed chase has been charged with manslaughter after a more than two-year investigation found the shooting not to be justified, officials said Wednesday.

Trooper Brian North turned himself in Tuesday evening to the state inspector general at the state police barracks in Bethany, state police said. {snip}

North fatally shot 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane in January 2020 as Soulemane sat in the driver’s seat of a car in West Haven, where the chase ended and police boxed in the car. North told officials he feared Soulemane was going to attack other officers with a knife.

Soulemane’s family, the NAACP and other groups said North, who is white, should not have shot Soulemane, who was Black, because police had him surrounded and he could not get away. {snip}

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In a report released Wednesday morning, Inspector General Robert Devlin’s office said the shooting was not justified.

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The report also includes a lengthy statement by North on the shooting. He 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.”

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On the day of the shooting, Soulemane, whose mental health appeared to have deteriorated in the days before he was killed, tried unsuccessfully to steal a cellphone from a store in Norwalk and fled in a car he stole from a Lyft driver {snip}

Soulemane led police on a chase of nearly 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Norwalk to West Haven that reached speeds of 100 mph (161 kph) {snip}

Norwalk police at one point stopped pursuing Soulemane because of the dangers, but state troopers, including North, resumed the chase after Soulemane had reportedly struck several vehicles.

In West Haven, state police said Soulemane took an exit, rear-ended a civilian’s vehicle and was immediately boxed in by police. Police said the officers ordered him out of the car, but he refused.

State police body camera videos show a West Haven officer smashing out the passenger door window of the stolen car before another trooper shoots Soulemane with a stun gun, which didn’t work.

North then fired his handgun seven times through the driver’s door window when Soulemane displayed the knife {snip}

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