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Community leaders react to trooper charged in the death of Mubarak Soulemane

Leaders say they are very shocked and relieved at the outcome, but want to know why the investigation took two years to complete.

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Several community leaders were shocked and relieved to hear of Trooper Brian North's arrest and charge in connection to the death of Mubarak Soulemane

However, they hope justice does not stop here when it comes to future officer-involved incidents. 

"This is a glim of light in a very dark tunnel," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP. 

Esdaile said he was surprised at the outcome because too many times, his brothers and sisters live with the unjust for the rest of their lives. 

RELATED: Connecticut state trooper arrested for 2020 shooting

"So many people have been harmed, hurt, killed and officers walking away with no consequences so when I say this shows some promise, hopefully, the family will receive some justice," added Esdaile. 

Trooper North turned himself in Tuesday and was charged with manslaughter on Wednesday for the death of Soulemane in 2020. 

The news garnered a reaction from the ACLU who issued this statement: 

“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 responsibly. 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.”

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

For the past two years, Soulemane's family and friends have held countless protests and marches and news conferences advocating for the then 19-year-old's death in West Haven

Esdaile called these movements impactful. 

"Keep fighting till we once again get freedom and justice and equality," added Esdaile. 

Governor Lamont told FOX61 that this incident, among others, is why he signed the state's police reform bill. 

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"That's why we have the police accountability. That's why we have an inspector general, an independent former judge who could take a look at these cases and give people confidence that justice will be served," said Lamont. 

RELATED: Family and Friends gather to remember Mubarak Soulemane 1-year after his death

Esdaile said he would like to sit down with the attorneys and get a clear definition of the difference between murder and manslaughter because he stated in his opinion, what happened to Soulemane was murder. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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