Connecticut soldier indicted for Mubarak Soulemane’s death


A white Connecticut state trooper who fatally shot a 19-year-old black man following a high-speed chase in 2020 has been charged with manslaughter

MILFORD, Conn. — A white Connecticut state trooper who fatally shot and killed a black man, Mubarak Soulemane, following a high-speed chase in 2020, was arraigned on Tuesday for manslaughter.

Private Brian North, who is free on bail, said nothing during or after the brief appearance in Milford Superior Court and did not plead guilty. His next court appearance was scheduled for June 2.

North fired seven shots into the driver’s side window of a stolen car after a pursuit on January 15, 2020, which ended in West Haven. Soulemane, 19, was killed. An investigation showed Soulemane had a knife but was locked up by police and unable to drive away.

North was arrested last month after state Inspector General Robert Devlin found the shooting was unwarranted.

About nine relatives and supporters of Soulemane were in the courtroom, including his mother, Omo Mohammed. After the hearing, they chanted “Justice for Mubarak” outside the courthouse.

“We are here today for justice, justice for my son, Mubarak Sulemane, who was slaughtered by a state trooper, Brian North,” Mohammed said. “I hope justice will be done to convict Brian North to go to jail, to convict Brian North of being responsible for my son’s murder.

Dozens of police officers, some from as far away as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, showed up in plain clothes outside the courthouse ahead of the hearing to show their support for North. They then took most of the seats in the courtroom, surrounding Soulemane’s family and supporters.

“No matter who it is, when our soldiers believe they are being sued for doing their job, we will stand up for them,” said Andrew Matthews, executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union.

Mohammed said she believed the officers who went to court on Tuesday were there to intimidate her and her family, which the police union denied. She said she and those close to her would not be intimidated.

Soulemane’s family, the NAACP and other groups said North should not have opened fire because police had surrounded Soulemane and he could not get away. They said North and other officers should have tried to defuse the situation. Soulemane’s mother has an ongoing wrongful death lawsuit against North and other officers who were at the scene.

A timeline of events included in Devlin’s report indicates that North began firing approximately 43 seconds after Soulemane crashed and officers locked him in. a soldier shot Soulemane with a stun gun, which did not work.

The chase, which reached speeds of up to 100 mph (161 kph) on Interstate 95, had started nearly 30 miles away in Norwalk after Soulemane attempted to steal a cellphone from a store and stole the vehicle of a Lyft driver, police said.

Soulemane’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia and his mental health appeared to deteriorate in the days before the shooting.

The state police union criticized Devlin’s findings, saying in a statement that North was forced to make a “split-second decision in these dangerous and rapidly changing circumstances.”

“We believe Private North acted in an objectively reasonable manner during this violent encounter and we believe a jury will find a reasonable doubt and acquit him of these serious charges,” the union said.

North and his attorney made no comment outside the courthouse. North is on paid administrative leave and his police powers are suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case.

North is the third Connecticut police officer to be arrested for fatal shootings dating back to 1998.

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This story has been corrected to show that Private Brian North’s next court day is June 2, not January 2.

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