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Jury selection begins in trial of Connecticut trooper's shooting of schizophrenic teen

Jury selection has begun in the trial of Connecticut State Trooper Brian North, who is accused of shooting a schizophrenic teenager after a car chase in 2020. Image courtesy of Connecticut State Police YouTube
Jury selection has begun in the trial of Connecticut State Trooper Brian North, who is accused of shooting a schizophrenic teenager after a car chase in 2020. Image courtesy of Connecticut State Police YouTube

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Jury selection is underway in the trial of Connecticut State Trooper Brian North, who is accused of manslaughter in the killing of a schizophrenic teenager in 2020 in West Haven, Conn.

North shot 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane after police immobilized the vehicle that they said was stolen. He was arrested in April 2022 and charged with manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm.

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Police body camera footage shows the vehicle Soulemane had been driving stopped in a damaged state, boxed in by police vehicles. One officer shoots Soulemane with a stun gun before North fires seven rounds from his sidearm.

North said that Soulemane took out a knife prior to the shooting, though police footage shows he was inside the vehicle.

A report from the Connecticut Office of the Inspector General found that North was not in danger at the time of the shooting.

"The investigation established that, 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," Connecticut Inspector General Robert Delvin Jr. wrote in his report on the shooting.

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Additionally, Delvin interviewed Soulemane's mother, Omu Mohmammed, who said her son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at 14.

Witnesses described Soulemane's behavior as "mentally disturbed and strange" according to the report.

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