Media Contact

Meghan Holden, ACLU of Connecticut, media@acluct.org

January 17, 2020

HARTFORD – The Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice has assigned the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad to assist the New London State’s Attorney in his investigation into the Connecticut State Police’s fatal car pursuit and shooting of Mubarak Soulemane.

“Police cannot police themselves. Yet state police have been assigned to investigate themselves for chasing, shooting, and killing Mubarak Soulemane. It is critically important for the investigation into Soulemane’s death at the hands of Connecticut State Police to be conducted by an independent law enforcement agency, not the same agency whose employees chased and killed him. The Division of Criminal Justice has the power to assign a different police agency to investigate Soulemane’s death, and they should. A local police department typically does not conduct the investigation when one of its employees hurts or kills someone, and the Connecticut State Police should not do so, either,” said Melvin Medina, public policy and advocacy director of the ACLU of Connecticut. 

“Police violence against Black and Latinx people is a pandemic in Connecticut, and it must end. Whether a car chase, tasing, beating, or gunshot, every time police harm or kill someone in our state, they harm families and communities. We call on the state to assign a different police agency to investigate this case, because the state police cannot and should not be left to investigate themselves,” said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP of Connecticut.

Under Connecticut law, the Division of Criminal Justice, represented by the Chief State’s Attorney, assigns the prosecutor and police agency to investigate deadly police uses of force. By law, the prosecutor must be from outside of the district where the person was hurt or killed. By law, the Division of Criminal Justice has the power to assign the “appropriate law enforcement agency” to assist the prosecutor in that investigation.

Connecticut State Police employee Brian North shot and killed 19-year-old Soulemane this week in West Haven. According to news reports, Norwalk police had told their employees to stop pursuing a car that Soulemane was driving, and state police, upon hearing that call via dispatch, chose to pursue the car themselves. According to Soulemane’s family, state police shot and killed Soulemane while he was in the car.

To access the Connecticut law empowering the Division of Criminal Justice to assign the law enforcement agency of their choosing to investigate a deadly police use of force: https://cga.ct.gov/2019/ACT/pa/pdf/2019PA-00090-R00SB-00380-PA.pdf

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