Prosecutors drop charges against Minnesota trooper in deadly shooting of motorist Ricky Cobb

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A Minnesota county attorney has decided to drop a case against a state trooper accused in the fatal shooting of Black motorist Ricky Cobb II.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced the decision Sunday evening.

“Ricky Cobb II should still be alive today,” Moriarty said in a statement. “There are so many points at which Mr. Londregan could have handled the situation differently, and if he had, Ricky Cobb might still be alive. But that is not the question before us as prosecutors; the only question is whether we can still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred given this new evidence. The answer to that question is no, and I would violate my ethical duties if I nonetheless continued with the case.”

Troopers pulled the 33-year-old Cobb over on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on July 31 because the lights were out on his car. They then found that the Spring Lake Park man was wanted for violating a protection order in neighboring Ramsey County. Trooper Ryan Londregan, 27, shot Cobb twice as Cobb tried to drive away after troopers ordered him to get out of his car.

MINNESOTA TROOPER ACCUSED OF FATALLY SHOOTING MOTORIST TO REMAIN FREE WITHOUT BAIL, JUDGE RULES

Trooper Ryan Londregan

Trooper Ryan Londregan walks with his wife to his first court appearance related to the killing of Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop, Jan. 29, 2024, at the Hennepin Public Safety Facility in Minneapolis. (Renée Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Moriarty filed a notice to dismiss the charges after Londregan’s defense team revealed prospective testimony during an April court hearing that the trooper believed Cobb was reaching for a firearm – and that a Minnesota State Patrol trainer said he never instructed officers to refrain from shooting into a moving vehicle.

The evidence would have made it impossible for prosecutors to prove that Londregan’s actions were not an authorized use of force by a peace officer, the county attorney’s office said in a statement released Sunday.

Cobb’s family was outraged by the decision.

“Regardless of how many absurd excuses Trooper Londregan gives to try and absolve himself, he shot and killed Ricky Cobb II at point blank range without any justification and, instead of prosecuting him for murder, the County Attorney’s Office has bowed to political pressure to drop the charges,” a statement from Cobb family attorneys obtained by Fox News Digital said. “Apparently, all you have to do to get away with murder is to bully the prosecutors enough and the charges will just go away.”

The statement added: “the state of Minnesota has repeatedly demonstrated that Black lives simply are not valued whether it’s Daunte Demetrius Wright, Philando Castile or Ricky Cobb II.”

MINNESOTA STATE TROOPER CHARGED WITH MURDER IN FATAL SHOOTING OF MOTORIST DURING TRAFFIC STOP

Family members of Ricky Cobb II,

Family members of Ricky Cobb II, a Black man who was shot and killed by a Minnesota state trooper, speak at a news conference outside Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Aug. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Trisha Ahmed)

Referring to the decision to drop the charges, Londregan’s attorney Chris Madel told the Star Tribune, “It’s about g—— time. That’s going to be about my only on the record comment.”

Prosecutors and law enforcement experts reviewed footage from the scene and found that, as Londregan’s partner clung to the passenger’s door, Cobb moved his hand upward. Cobb did have a gun in the vehicle. Moriarty told the Star Tribune there is still no evidence he intended to grab it but that the defense team’s statements caused prosecutors to reconsider the evidence through a new lens.

Mary Moriarty

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty discussed the decision to dismiss the case against Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan in the killing of Ricky Cobb II in a press conference on Monday, June 3, 2024. (Hennepin County Attorney’s Office )

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Cobb’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in April, alleging that the stop and the shooting were unjustified.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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