A Connecticut trooper who fatally shot a 19-year-old Black man after a car chase two years ago has been charged with manslaughter, reports the New York Times. Trooper, Brian North, who is white, fired seven shots on Jan. 15, 2020, through the driver’s side window of a stolen vehicle driven by Mubarak Soulemane. Soulemane, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had been acting erratically that day before leading officers in a chase. Police shootings involving white officers and Black drivers —a recent one was the death of Patrick Lyoya, a Michigan man killed by a police officer — have raised questions about the use of lethal force during routine traffic stops and after chases.
“We’ve been fighting in Connecticut for many, many years around police brutality, police misconduct, and officers walking away with no consequences,” said Scot Esdaile, president of the NAACP Connecticut State Conference. He said the charging decision “shows promise that we’re moving in the right direction, and that this type of behavior will not be accepted in the state of Connecticut.” On Wednesday, the state inspector general, Robert Devlin, found that the use of deadly force was not justified in the case of Soulemane, who was behind the steering wheel holding a knife when North shot him. “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,” Devlin wrote. “Further, any belief that persons were in such danger was not reasonable.” The trooper was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter.