Home » Minnesota Trooper Charged With Murder in Black Motorist’s Death

Minnesota Trooper Charged With Murder in Black Motorist’s Death

A trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol is facing a trio of felony counts for the fatal shooting of a motorist during a routine traffic stop last July, authorities announced.

Trooper Ryan Londregan is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault, and second-degree manslaughter over Ricky Cobb II’s death, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said at a press conference on Wednesday. The 33-year-old Cobb, who is Black, was shot dead by the white trooper after being pulled over in North Minneapolis for a minor equipment violation.

“A critical component of the work of the Minnesota State Patrol is engaging with drivers during motor vehicle stops,” Moriarty said. “This is something that State Troopers do every day, and, as a result, they receive extensive training on how to do so safely and effectively. Trooper Londregan did not follow this training.”

While deadly force by police “is justified in some circumstances,” the circumstances here “did not justify the use of deadly force,” read a companion statement issued by Moriarty’s office.

Londregan’s attorney, Chris Madel, directed The Daily Beast to a video statement and a court filing submitted in response to the charges, disputing the state’s findings. In the statement, Madel claimed Moriarty “has provided sweetheart deals to murderers and kidnappers, and now, today, she charges a hero. This County Attorney is literally out of control. Open season on law enforcement must end. And it’s going to end with this case.”

Londregan had been on the force for about a year-and-a-half at the time of the shooting.

Troopers stopped Cobb’s silver Ford Fusion shortly before 2 a.m. on July 31, 2023, for driving at night without headlights, according to the criminal complaint against Londregan. About 20 minutes later, Londregan arrived on the scene, it says. One of the other troopers told Londregan that Cobb, a father of five, was wanted for violating a protective order in Ramsey County, “though there was no arrest warrant outstanding in that case,” the complaint states.

Cobb was ordered out of the car, without being given a reason, the complaint goes on. He asked if there was a warrant out for his arrest, and the troopers told him there was not, it says.

“Can y’all keep it a buck with me, bro?” Cobb pleaded, according to body cam footage cited in the complaint. “Y’all pulled me over for my headlights.”

“Yep,” an unidentified trooper responded. “We’re way past that.”

Cobb’s hands were away from the steering wheel, he was not touching the gear shift, and the car was in park, the complaint states. When Cobb continued to ask what was going on, the unnamed trooper told Cobb that he was now under arrest.

At that moment, Londregan—who was standing by the front passenger door—reached inside the car and unlocked the door, according to the complaint. As Londregan opened the door, Cobb shifted the car into drive and took his foot off the brake, it says. The car began to roll slowly forward, so Londregan and the other troopers walked swiftly to keep up with it, according to the complaint. But as the trooper closest to Cobb reached inside toward Cobb’s seatbelt, Londregan reached for his gun, the complaint says.

Seconds later, Londregan fired twice, hitting Cobb in the torso both times, according to the complaint. Cobb’s car continued rolling, coming to a stop against a concrete median a quarter-mile away. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The gunshot wounds which caused the death were those fired by the defendant,” the complaint states.

Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

According to an Aug. 3 news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which investigated the shooting, cops “found two cartridge casings, a cell phone and handgun, which was on the floor behind the center console in the back of Cobb’s vehicle. At no point on available video is Cobb II seen holding the gun.”

The BCA handed the case over to Moriarty’s office in September. Moriarty said at the time that certain members of the state patrol had “refused to cooperate with the BCA’s investigation.” On Wednesday, she said, “Our hearts are with Ricky Cobb’s family today, who are grieving an unimaginable loss. I know that they are devastated and will continue to feel this loss for the rest of their lives.”

In a statement issued after Moriarty announced the charges against Londregan, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer called it “a sad situation for everyone involved.”

“We acknowledge the deep loss felt by Mr. Cobb’s family and friends,” Langer said. “We also recognize the gravity of this situation for the State Patrol and our troopers tasked with making difficult split-second decisions. In accordance with the troopers’ labor contract, Trooper Ryan Londregan will remain on paid leave while an investigation by the Department of Public Safety’s Internal Affairs Division is completed. That investigation has begun and will inform employment decisions.”

If convicted, Londregan faces up to 15 years on the second-degree unintentional murder charge alone, according to Moriarty.


January 2024