After a car chase in pursuit of the victim, Brian D. North, the Connecticut state trooper, shot Mubarak Soulemane seven times and killed him on January 15, 2020.
On Wednesday (April 20), state inspector general, Robert J. Devlin Jr. found North’s use of deadly force against Soulemane unjustified. The trooper was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter.
“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,” Devlin said in his report. “Further, any belief that persons were in such danger was not reasonable.”
According to the police report, Soulemane, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, walked into an AT&T store with a kitchen knife and attempted to steal a phone earlier that day. As police showed up at the scene, Soulemane fled in a stolen vehicle, which led to the car chase.
The pursuit ended as Soulemane crashed into another vehicle. Officers approached Soulemane, smashed the passenger window, and tried to tase the victim.
Soulemane then pointed the knife at the ceiling of the car, and North immediately open fire before yelling “Drop the knife,” the police report stated.
Scot X. Esdaile, president of Connecticut’s NAACP, said in a statement, “We’ve been fighting in Connecticut for many, many years around police brutality, police misconduct, and officers walking away with no consequences.”
Esdaile continued, “ [The decision] shows promise that we’re moving in the right direction and that this type of behavior will not be accepted in the state of Connecticut.”
Soulemane’s family lawyer Mark D. Arons told the New York Times that the family “could all breathe at least a momentary sigh of relief knowing that their prayers for justice, at least initially, have been answered.”
According to Connecticut police, North is on paid administrative leave and his “police powers have been suspended pending criminal proceedings.”
After North’s Wednesday arrest, the trooper was released on a $50,000 bond. North’s day in court is set for May 3.
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