Family of teen killed after high-speed chase to add Norwalk police to wrongful death lawsuit
NORWALK — The family of a 19-year-old New Haven man killed by a state trooper in January allege Norwalk police failed to properly inform state police of his psychological condition, according to court filings in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mubarak Soulemane was shot and killed Jan. 15 by Trooper Brian North under a highway overpass in West Haven following a high-speed pursuit on Interstate 95 that originated in Norwalk when police say he committed a carjacking outside the AT&T store on Main Avenue.
The family is seeking $10 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in February that names the state, the state police, the city of West Haven and the West Haven Police Department as defendants.
Court filings submitted last week allege Norwalk police mishandled the case by not providing state police with updated information as the pursuit unfolded, leading to the fatal shooting near the Exit 43 off-ramp.
In a court filing, the family alleges Norwalk police dispatch and command “failed to properly and adequately advise the state police and West Haven police that Mr. Soulemane was in possession of a steak knife, that he did not threaten anyone at the AT&T store with the knife, and that his psychological condition appeared questionable,” according to a claim notice provided by Mark Arons, a lawyer representing the family.
Police have said Soulemane, who grew up in Norwalk, entered the AT&T store with a knife and argued with employees before leaving and stealing a car, which was then involved in the high-speed pursuit.
Body camera footage released by state police following the deadly encounter shows Trooper North firing seven shots through the closed driver’s side window of the car after the vehicle crashed and became boxed in by traffic.
Family members have repeatedly called for North to be fired and criminally charged in the shooting.
The court filing said the family intends to pursue a claim of wrongful death against Norwalk police, as well as claims for negligence, emotional distress, and “negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The document claims the department failed to properly train personnel, supervisors and dispatchers; and failed to enact rules, regulations and policies “which would have prevented Mr. Soulemane’s death.”
Calls left with the administrative office of the Norwalk Police Department and Chief Thomas E. Kulhawik seeking comment were not immediately returned on Monday. Mayor Harry Rilling could not be reached for comment.