Connecticut trooper charged with shooting death of 19-year-old Black man

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Connecticut Trooper Charged in Shooting Death of 19-Year-Old Black Man

This screenshot is from video released by Connecticut State Police of the Jan. 15, 2020, police-involved shooting that killed 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane. Photo credit: Connecticut State Police/YouTube

The Connecticut Office of the Inspector General has charged a state trooper with fatally shooting a 19-year-old black man two years ago.

Inspector General Robert Devlin Jr. announced Wednesday that Connecticut State Police Trooper Brian North was charged with first-degree manslaughter with a firearm for police involvement in the killing of Mubarak Soulemane on Jan. 15, 2020.

North was released on a $50,000 bond and is expected to appear in Milford Superior Court on May 3.

Soulemane was killed in Westport on that winter night in January after leading police on a lengthy car chase.

North and two other officers managed to stop Soulemane, who was driving a stolen 2012 Hyundai Sonata, thus ending the chase, according to a 133-page report on the case released Wednesday by Devlin.

Shortly after coming to a complete stop, North fired seven shots through the Hyundai’s driver’s side window, striking Soulemane, who was sitting in the front seat.

An investigation into the shooting found that Soulemane had a knife in his hand when he was shot, but “neither he nor anyone else was in imminent danger of serious injury or death at the time of police officer North’s shooting,” Devlin said in the report.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said that while the police never killed Suleman, the announcement of the charges against North “is a welcome step toward personal accountability.”

“No family should lose a loved one to police brutality, much less advocate for police to be held accountable in the aftermath,” Claudine Constant, director of public policy advocacy for the ACLU of Connecticut, said in a statement.

Soulemane, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 14, was found to be acting erratically after his brother reported him missing to police earlier that day following an altercation between the two, according to the report.

Soulemane then tried to buy an iPhone and then tried unsuccessfully to steal one from a display, the report said. He then jumped into a shared car that had come to pick up Soulemane’s customers from the cell phone store.

Inside the car, Soulemane confronted the driver, Daniel Green, and when Green pulled over and got out to draw the attention of police, Soulemane jumped into the front seat and drove off, leading to a high-speed police chase that eventually led to his death.

“No police officer intends to take someone’s life; we have no desire to do that,” Andrew Matthews, executive director of the Connecticut State Police union, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday, according to The New York Times.” And I don’t think — we don’t think that was the intent in this case.”

“Police officer North made a split-second decision in some very unusual and very difficult circumstances,” Matthews said.

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