A Connecticut state trooper was arrested on Tuesday after he fired seven times into the driver’s side window of a car reported stolen, shooting and killing a 19-year-old community college student during what his family says was a mental health crisis. Brian North turned himself into Bethany state police. He was placed on paid administrative leave and his police powers were suspended, Connecticut state police said in a statement emailed to Daily Kos. Inspector General Robert Devli Jr. announced on Wednesday that North was released on a $50,000 bond and he is facing a manslaughter charge in the death of Mubarak Soulemane more than two years ago in West Haven on Jan. 15, 2020.
North is expected to appear in Milford Superior Court on May 3. The details of the high-speed chase that ended in Soulemane’s death were spelled out in a 133-page report released by the inspector general’s office. But if one thing is clear in this case, it is that Soulemane’s death is not only on the hands of North. This Black man’s death is further evidence of a systematic failure leaving those who suffer mental health crises vulnerable.
Let’s start with the events that immediately led up to Soulemane’s death.
The inspector general’s office reported a dispute at an AT&T store. Soulemane had reportedly accused a clerk at the store of disabling his phone after a worker told him that he would need a $548 deposit to purchase the iPhone 11 he inquired about. The clerk noticed that Soulemane was holding a knife, although he did not point it at her, according to the investigation report. He was then accused of attempting to steal an iPhone 11, but a store manager reportedly grabbed the phone and escorted Soulemane out of the store, which also called 911.
The inspector general’s office determined that Soulemane took a car from a Lyft driver scheduled to pick him up from the store. That driver, Daniel Green, drove a 2012 Hyundai Sonata, and investigators determined that when Green picked Soulemane up, he asked for the driver’s phone. When Green refused to turn it over, Soulemane allegedly slapped the man in the head. Green reportedly pulled into a gas station, saw police approaching, and tried to get their attention. Investigators wrote in their report that “Soulemane quickly moved into the driver’s seat,” and “Norwalk police pursued.”
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