Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty's office will begin considering whether charges will be filed in the fatal shooting of a Black motorist by a Minnesota state trooper earlier this summer.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Tuesday handed over its investigation to Moriarty, who said in a statement that some State Patrol employees refused to cooperate with an effort that spanned roughly seven weeks. The BCA notified Moriarty on Monday that the case submission was imminent, so Moriarty said she met with the family of Ricky Cobb II to alert them of the development.
Cobb, 33, of Plymouth, died of multiple gunshot wounds in north Minneapolis after he was pulled over about 1:50 a.m. on Monday, July 31, on Interstate 94 for driving without taillights. During the stop, troopers attempted to remove Cobb from the vehicle after learning that he'd been accused of violating a standing domestic order for protection out of Ramsey County.
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office had issued a 72-hour request for agencies to pick up and hold Cobb for questioning of the felony-level violation that grants officers probable cause to detain. The order for protection was filed by the mother of Cobb's young children, relatives have said.
Squad and body camera video showed three troopers attempting to order Cobb out of the vehicle. He resisted instructions and repeatedly questioned why he was being detained. Less than a minute later, they forced open the doors and rookie Trooper Ryan Londregan was partly inside Cobb's car when he drew and fired his handgun.
At some point Cobb's car lurched forward, knocking down Londregan and another trooper, Brett Seide. A third trooper identified by the BCA as Garrett Erickson was also on the scene.
Moriarty said in the statement that she met with Cobb's family to alert them of receiving the case and "recommit to a fair decision-making process." She thanked the BCA and said her office would begin "a thorough review of the case immediately."
"We have learned from the BCA that there are State Patrol employees who have thus far refused to cooperate with the BCA's investigation. These are individuals who are not the subject of the investigation but may have relevant information," the statement read. "We are disappointed by this lack of cooperation as the family, the community, and the troopers involved in this incident all deserve answers. For our part, I am committed to ensuring that our office utilizes all resources available to us to conduct a complete and thorough review, and reaches a decision as quickly as possible."
Moriarty said her office already identified, but did not disclose the name, of a use-of-force expert to examine evidence, which is typical in nearly every case where an officer uses force. The expert's review is a critical part of our process, she said, adding that they selected this expert even before they received the completed investigation "so that we could move forward with our work immediately upon receipt of the file."
"To ensure a fair and just process, we cannot disclose any further information at this time," Moriarty said. "I hear the community calls for an immediate charging decision, but I also know that rushing can lead to mistakes. Thank you for your patience as we work diligently to get this right."
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association General Counsel Imran Ali criticized Moriarty's statement, calling it "unconscionable" that she comment before a charging decision is made.
"It's clear her comments run contrary to due-process rights. Prosecutors are the ministers of justice, and these statements unethically tip the balance," Ali said in a news release.
Cobb's family has called for Londregan to be fired and criminally charged.
The family is represented by national civil rights attorneys Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and F. Clayton Tyler. The legal team issued a statement Tuesday expressing disappointment that some patrol employees refused to cooperate with the BCA investigation.
"To all those who have enabled and sheltered [Londregan] by refusing to cooperate and tell the truth, the old ways of silence and turning a blind eye are over. Accountability is coming no matter how hard you try to hide."
"[W]e remain hopeful that this investigation will lead to a semblance of justice not only for the family of Ricky Cobb II, but for all the people of Minnesota."
Londregan's attorney, Chris Madel, said in an email that they "remain confident that if the State's investigation is thorough, fair, and actually independent, there will be no charges."
Madel has previously criticized Moriarty for meeting with Cobb's family because he said it undermines the due-process rights of his client and the integrity of the investigation.
The shooting reignited concerns among some critics about whether the BCA is capable of conducting a truly independent inquiry into a fellow state agency.
The BCA made clear that Cobb was not holding a gun at the time of the shooting. A firearm was recovered on the floor behind the center console of Cobb's vehicle.
Minnesota state troopers rarely use deadly force. The only other killing by a trooper in recent years happened in 2022 when a trooper shot Charles Bangs, 59, outside of Bowlus, Minn.
The shooting was determined to be justified because Bangs was armed with a gun and pointed it at the trooper.