A Connecticut state trooper who fatally shot a teenager after a high-speed chase in 2020 was charged Wednesday with manslaughter.
Brian North turned himself in Tuesday night, more than two years after he killed Mubarak Soulemane, a 19-year-old Black man, on Jan. 15, 2020.
North was released on bail Wednesday and is due back in court May 3, the Connecticut inspector general’s office said.
Police said Soulemane carjacked a vehicle at knifepoint in Norwalk, initiating a 20-mile chase along I-95 that ended south of New Haven. Soulemane attempted to exit the highway and was ensnared by a police roadblock.
Patrol cars boxed in Soulemane’s vehicle, and officers yelled at him to get out of the car, according to body-camera video released back in 2020.
Soulemane did not get out of the car. Officers smashed open his passenger’s side window and attempted to shock him with a Taser, but the Taser failed.
At that point, Soulemane appeared to pick up a knife in the vehicle. North, standing on the firing driver’s side, responded by several bullets into the vehicle, killing Soulemane.
“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,” Connecticut Inspector General Robert Devlin said in his office’s report.
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“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.”
The state’s inspector general position was established in 2021 to investigate police shootings and other violence. Soulemane’s family said he battled schizophrenia.
The police union representing North claimed that officers were trying to enter Soulemane’s vehicle and therefore were in danger if he held a knife, the Hartford Courant reported.
After turning himself in, North was placed on paid administrative leave. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.