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Connecticut state trooper charged with manslaughter for 2020 West Haven shooting

Trooper Brian North turned himself in to the Inspector General at State Police Barracks, police say.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A Connecticut state trooper has been charged with manslaughter in connection to the 2020 shooting of Mubarak Soulemane in West Haven, officials announced Wednesday.

Trooper Brian North turned himself in to the Inspector General at State Police Barracks Troop I on Tuesday.

RELATED: Connecticut state trooper arrested for 2020 shooting

The Office of the Inspector General announced Wednesday he was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm. The charge arises out of the officer-involved shooting death of Soulemane on January 15, 2020.

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

Soulemane's family released a statement Tuesday evening following the arrest saying they are "very happy" that after two years North may be "brought to justice."

"It's a long road ahead," the statement said. "But this is a good day."

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut issued a statement following the charges:

“Mubarak Soulemane should still be alive today. Justice would be police never killing Mubarak Soulemane in the first place and no one ever dying at the hands of police again, but today’s announcement is a welcome step toward individual accountability for Brian North. 

For two years, Mubarak Soulemane’s loved ones have called for police to be held accountable for killing him. No family should ever have to lose a loved one to police violence, let alone have to advocate for police to be held accountable afterward. Yet far too many families, especially Black families, have been left to grieve loved ones killed by police and never seen the individual police or system-wide actors held responsible. 

The Inspector General’s report is a thorough indictment of the system that makes it possible for police to kill a young Black man experiencing a mental health crisis and of previous prosecutors’ excuses for that system. Today’s news is a welcome change from the past, and preventing more police violence and racism will require broader system overhauls, including moving money out of policing and into the programs and services that build healthy and strong communities.”  

Soulemane, who was 19 at the time of his death, died after a police chase that began in Norwalk on January 15, 2020. He crashed the car on Campbell Avenue in West Haven.

"An altercation occurred at that time. Some shots were fired and the suspect was struck by some gunfire," State Police Col. Stavros Mellekas said at the time.

Investigators at the time said North fired seven shots through the driver's side window of the vehicle, striking Soulemane, who was seated in the driver's seat holding a knife.

Soulemane died from gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities. The Office of Chief Medical Examiner declared his death a homicide.

North was one of the three state police troopers involved in the incident.

RELATED: Family: Investigation of killing by trooper taking too long

The Connecticut State Police Union released a statement Tuesday night, condemning North's arrest.

"This case is tragic for everyone involved. We extend our condolences to Mubarak Soulemane’s family for their loss. No Connecticut State Trooper ever intends to or has the desire to take the life of another human being," the statement said in part.

"We are disappointed that the Inspector General has made the decision to prosecute a Trooper, who was forced to make a split-second decision during these dangerous and rapidly evolving circumstances," the statement continued. "Trooper North was risking his own life while trying to fulfill his oath of office to protect the lives of others. Regardless of the Inspector General's decision, we will respect the judicial process while we vigorously defend Trooper North and his actions."

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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