A Connecticut state trooper has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the 2020 death of a carjacking suspect he shot after a high-speed chase, a state official’s office said Wednesday.
Trooper Brian North’s arrest comes after investigators concluded that his shooting of Mubarak Soulemane “was not justified,” according to a report released Wednesday by State Inspector General Robert Devlin Jr.
North shot Soulemane, 19, on January 15, 2020, at the end of a chase that began after Soulemane, armed with a knife, carjacked a vehicle in southwestern Connecticut, state police have said.
“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,” Devlin wrote in the report. “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. ”
Soulemane’s mother told investigators he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 14 and may not have been taking his medication on the day of the police encounter, resulting in him becoming combative, the inspector general’s report said.
Soulemane’s family had called for North to be prosecuted. His relatives and friends held protests and vigils after police released video of the shooting days after the incident.
North, 31, has been released on a $ 50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on May 3, according to a news release from Devlin’s office.
CNN has reached out to North’s attorney, Jeffrey Ment, and the Connecticut State Police Union for comment.
Soulemane, while armed with a knife, carjacked a white Hyundai in Norwalk, and then led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 into New Haven, a roughly 35-mile drive from Norwalk, Connecticut State Police have said. Soulemane struck two cruisers and a civilian vehicle before he was boxed in by troopers shortly after exiting the highway, according to police.
Police camera footage shows a trooper breaking the front passenger side window while other officers shout at the driver to exit the car. An attempt to use a stun gun on Soulemane proved “ineffective,” police said in a statement at the time.
“When the driver displayed a weapon (later determined to be a knife), a trooper on scene discharged his assigned duty pistol, striking the driver,” the statement said.
The trooper, later identified as North, fired about seven shots through the front driver’s side window at Soulemane in the driver’s seat, according to the footage.
Soulemane, a New Haven resident, died at a hospital, police said.
Though Soulemane was holding a knife in the car, the troopers at the scene were not in “any actual or imminent danger of deadly force being used against them,” the inspector general’s report reads.
“Soulemane was in the driver’s seat of the Hyundai and (the troopers) were outside the vehicle,” reads the report, which also said Soulemane could not open the driver’s door enough to exit because a police cruiser blocked him in. “Although he held a knife in his right hand, he was not using the knife against them nor presenting any imminent threat to do so.”