Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (2024)

Local News

By Riley Moser, Stephen Swanson, Beret Leone, Caroline Cummings

/ CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS — Murder and manslaughter charges against a White Minnesota state trooper who shot and killed a Black man during a traffic stop on Interstate 94 last summer have been dropped, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Sunday.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty filed a notice of dismissal of charges against Ryan Londregan in the shooting death of 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II due to "several new pieces of evidence that would make it impossible for the State to prove that Mr. Londregan's actions were not an authorized use of force by a peace officer."

Last month, Londregan, 27, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter. He remains on paid leave while the Minnesota State Patrol conducts a critical incident review.

The evidence that led to the dismissal

Moriarty and the prosecution team met with a use of force expert and later determined the state could no longer meet its burden of proof, her office said.

The county attorney cites two pieces of evidence that would "make it impossible" for the state to prove Londregan's actions were not justified.

Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (2)

First, during an open court hearing on April 29, the defense revealed the substance of Londregan's prospective testimony, claiming Londregan saw Cobb reach for Londregan's firearm just before he shot him.

Additionally, a state patrol trainer had claimed that he never instructed officers to refrain from shooting into a moving vehicle during an extraction, even though it is the best practice.

In a press conference on Monday morning, Moriarty said her office believes the judge would have granted a motion of acquittal by the defense if the trial went forward.

"It was frustrating to learn of this evidence so far into the case because the defense had so many opportunities to provide us with it," Moriarty said.

She called the move to drop charges "one of the hardest decisions I've ever made."

"It was on the one hand not so hard legally, but people in our community and Ricky Cobb's family shouldn't have to listen to me or any prosecutor once again talk about the same legal barriers that prevent accountability time after time after time," she said.

The county attorney also denied that last week's shooting death of Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell was a factor in her decision.

"Make no mistake, Ricky Cobb was the victim in this case. Ricky Cobb should be alive today," Moriarty said.

She said the trial was fueled politically and her team faced threatening attacks throughout the process.

Gov. Walz says he was set to take Moriarty off the case, again

Walz called the dismissal "the right decision"in an unrelated press conference on Monday morning. He was also asked if had considered reassigning the case from Moriarty to the state attorney's office, a move he made in April 2023 in the Zaria McKeever murder case.

"At some point had this decision not been made, then yes, we would have done that," Walz said. "I also say that I don't take it lightly. I think that is the wrong, it should not be that way, but there's a safety net in there to allow an egregious situation like this to be corrected. And yes, we would have used that."

Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (3)

A spokesperson for Moriarty's office stated on Monday afternoon that while they heard rumors about Walz's potential intervention this weekend, it had no bearing on the decision to drop charges.

Cobb's family reacts

Moriarty said she and others in her office met with Cobb's family before publicly announcing the charges would be dropped. On Monday, attorneys representing Cobb's family released this statement:

While we are disappointed, we are not surprised because, like many, we have come to expect the absence of justice and accountability when Black lives are lost in this country. In fact, 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.

The simple fact is that, 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. 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 people don't believe the excuses and neither do we.

Nyra Fields-Miller, Cobb's mother, said she thought there would be accountability.

"[Prosecutors] smiled in my face and had a dagger in my back all along," Fields-Miller said. "I am so upset, disappointed and mad. My heart breaks every day."

Londregan's attorney: "It's about g*d***** time"

In response to the charges being dropped, Londregan's attorney, Chris Madel said on Sunday, "It's about g*d***** time."

Madel held a press conference of his own on Monday, where he called Moriarty's conference from earlier in the day "unhinged and delusional." He argued the evidence the prosecution cited wasn't new and charges shouldn't have happened in the first place.

"I thank God I'm not a cop. I certainly thank God that I'm not a cop in Hennepin County and have to answer to the likes of Mary Moriarty," Madel said.

Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (4)

Madel also shared some of Londregan's resume, including several recognitions for DWI enforcement and his outstanding rookie award.

"What I heard over and over again today is I am so sorry for the Cobb family! How about someone being a little bit sorry for what Ryan Londregan had to go through!" he said.

Law enforcement reaction

Col. Christina Bogojevic, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, released a statement on Sunday where she said her troopers "are in a line of work that is increasingly difficult and dangerous — but also more important than ever."

"The use of force that took Ricky Cobb II's life unfolded in a fraction of a second. We acknowledge the loss felt by Mr. Cobb's family. We also recognize the immense toll this incident has taken on our troopers and staff," Bogojevic said.

Moriarty had previously been accused of ignoring an expert's opinion on Londregan's use of deadly force. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA), the largest police organization in the state, even requested that Walz hand over the case to the attorney general.

"Open season on law enforcement needs to end – on the streets and in the courtroom," MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in response to the charges being dropped. "Trooper Londregan should have never been charged, and we are glad this political case is over. Enough is enough."

Outside legal team offers recommendations for moving forward

In late April, Moriarty's office assembled a new prosecution team, entering into a contract with a Washington D.C.-based law firm. The move to hire an outside legal counsel was also met with criticism.

The special prosecutors hired for the case also developed a report that includes an analysis of the impact of the new evidence and recommendations for the state patrol, including requiring "prompt and complete" cooperation by law enforcement personnel during in-custody death investigations, a state patrol investigation to determine if policy and training changes are needed, an increase in de-escalation training for troopers and an amendment to its use of force policy.

Moriarty said she will stay committed to advocating for these changes.

Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (5)

Details of the shooting

On the morning of July 31, 2023, two troopers pulled Cobb over for not having his taillights on. They soon discovered he was wanted by Ramsey County law enforcement for violating a no-contact order in a domestic case.

Body camera footage captured by the troopers showed them demanding Cobb exit his vehicle. He refused and began driving away when a trooper tried to unbuckle his seat belt. That's when Londregan fired two rounds into Cobb's torso.

Cobb's vehicle continued to move, causing two of the troopers to fall to the ground. The vehicle eventually came to a stop, and Cobb was found dead inside.

A federal lawsuit filed by Cobb's family claims Londregan and Brett Seide unreasonably seized Cobb by ordering him out of the car without explaining if he was under arrest, and by reaching into the car and grabbing him in an attempt to "forcibly remove him." The troopers also used "unnecessary, excessive, and deadly force" on Cobb, the lawsuit said.

  • Minnesota State Patrol
  • Shooting Death
  • Hennepin County

Riley Moser

Riley Moser is a digital producer who covers breaking news and feature stories for CBS Minnesota. Riley started her career at CBS Minnesota in June 2022 and earned an honorable mention for sports writing from the Iowa College Media Association the same year.

Murder charges dropped against Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan in killing of Ricky Cobb II (2024)


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