Looking back at the fatal shooting of Mubarak Soulemane by State Police Trooper Brian North

On Jan. 15, 2020, Mubarak Soulemane was shot and killed after a police chase from Norwalk to New Haven.

Frank Recchia and Robyn Karashik

Mar 14, 2024, 12:29 AM

Updated 41 days ago

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On Jan. 15, 2020, Mubarak Soulemane was shot and killed after a police chase from Norwalk to New Haven.
Both police and witnesses say the 19-year-old displayed a kitchen knife, tried to steal a cell phone and assaulted a Lyft driver. They say he then drove off in his car, leading officers on a 30-mile pursuit. Soulemane was described as being in the midst of a mental health episode.
They say he crashed his car and was surrounded by police. Connecticut State Trooper Brian North said he then shot Soulemane seven times. North said he believed the teen was threatening a West Haven Police officer with the knife.
"Brian North is not guilty,” said defense attorney Frank Riccio.
"It's historic. Nothing like this has happened – charging a law enforcement officer – in better than 20 years,” said Mark Arons.
The case brought civil rights activist Al Sharpton to Connecticut to speak out against the fatal shooting. As the trial has unfolded, the prosecutor – Inspector General Robert Devlin, whose report led to North's arrest on a manslaughter charge – has argued North did not have probable cause to use deadly force.
"I want Brian North to go to jail for killing my son, for massacring my son,” said Omo Mohammed, the mother of Soulemane.
"It's almost like an 'Oh my god' feeling. I felt that I had to act in that moment or the West Haven officer, or even Trooper Jackson, could have been killed,” said North.
Riccio has built the defense around confusion among police and about whether this was a car-jacking or a car theft. He also said North was simply following his training.
Whatever the outcome, it's been a polarizing case involving a wide array of issues from mental health to allegations of excessive force by police.


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