‘Patience was essential’: Mubarak Soulemane’s family reacts to arrest of Connecticut state trooper
In the two years since her brother was killed by a Connecticut state trooper, Mariyann Soulemane says she almost lost hope that the officer would be held accountable.
“The path has shown its course and why patience was essential,” Soulemane said.
She and other family members of Mubarak Soulemane gathered Thursday to mark the arrest of Brian North, who shot and killed the 19-year-old in 2020. North was arrested after turning himself in earlier this week and has been charged with manslaughter. He was released after posting $50,000 bail, and his police powers have been suspended.
As the Soulemane family waited for an arrest, there was a global movement for Black lives in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Connecticut then passed the Police Accountability Law, which created an independent office of the inspector general to review deaths like Mubarak’s.
“We thank God for George Floyd’s legacy and hope that this is not just for my brother, this is for all of us: Every family that was wronged in the state of Connecticut, everybody that was murdered by [a] police officer and got off scot-free, this is for them,” Mariyann Soulemane said.
The family got the news of North’s manslaughter charge directly from state Inspector General Robert Devlin, according to Mark Arons, a family lawyer. Family members were “joyous and elated” after waiting for more than two years, he said.
Mubarak’s mother, Omo Klusum Mohammed, expressed gratitude Thursday for Devlin’s efforts.
“I want to thank the inspector general for taking his time to investigate this case,” Mohammed said.
North fatally shot Mubarak Soulemane in January 2020 after a high-speed chase. Soulemane sat in the driver’s seat of a stolen car in West Haven, where the chase ended and police boxed in the car. After a failed attempt to use a taser on Soulemane, police said they saw him reaching for a knife. That’s when North fired his gun multiple times. He said he feared Soulemane was going to attack his fellow officers.
But the report from the inspector general’s office states that neither North nor any other person was in imminent danger of serious injury or death from a knife attack. The report found that North was not justified in using deadly force – and the investigation questioned the necessity of the high-speed chase.
Soulemane had reportedly been treated for schizophrenia in the past, and the report says he was acting erratically on the day of his death.
North is scheduled to be arraigned May 3. North’s attorney didn’t issue a comment on Thursday. The state police union said it was disappointed that the inspector general’s office decided to prosecute North and that it will vigorously defend the trooper.
Connecticut Public’s Jeff Cohen and the Associated Press contributed to this report.