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Murder charges dropped against Minnesota officer Ryan Londregan in death of Ricky Cobb II

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(MINNEAPOLIS) — A Minnesota trooper who fatally shot an unarmed Black man during a routine traffic stop last July has had the charges against him dismissed.


Ryan Londregan, the white state trooper accused of killing Ricky Cobb II, 33, had faced charges of second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter. He previously pleaded not guilty.

In a statement Sunday night, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced that the charges against Londregan would be thrown out. The dismissal comes after the defense said Londregan would testify that he saw Cobb “reach for the trooper’s firearm,” and that a Minnesota State Patrol trainer said “he never instructed officers to refrain from shooting into a moving vehicle.”

As a result of this new evidence, prosecutors determined they could no longer prove beyond a reasonable doubt “that Mr. Londregan’s actions were not an authorized use of force by a peace officer,” and decided to drop the case.

In a press conference Monday morning, Moriarty expressed regret that she would not be able to bring the case to trial.

“Ricky Cobb should be alive today,” she said. “And that makes our inability to move forward even more difficult for Mr. Cobb’s family and for our community. And for that, I’m deeply sorry.”

Civil rights attorneys Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and F. Clayton Tyler, who are representing the Cobb family, criticized the county attorney’s office, saying they had “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 attorneys said in a statement. “The people don’t believe the excuses and neither do we.”

Cobb was pulled over on July 31, 2023, around 1:50 a.m. — initially because his taillights were out, but upon being stopped, troopers learned he was wanted for violating a protective order in a nearby county and were asked to take him into custody, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Bodycam footage shows two troopers talking to Cobb while they stood outside the car. The troopers attempted to detain Cobb, but he allegedly refused to exit the car and tried to drive away. One of the troopers appeared to try to grab the steering wheel to stop him, but he drove away, the body camera video shows. A trooper, since identified as Londregan, shot multiple times at Cobb, who drove a short distance before striking a median and dying at the scene, authorities said.

Cobb’s family filed a federal lawsuit in April against Londregan — as well as Minnesota State Trooper Brett Seide, who was also involved in the traffic stop but was not charged in this case — accusing them of “unreasonable seizure” and “excessive use of force.”

In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Olivia Stroh, the mother of Cobb’s 7-year-old son, called for justice in the case and revealed the trauma her young son is experiencing.

“I just want to say that the pain that I felt from having to tell my son that the person he looks up to — the person who’s supposed to protect and serve – he shot his daddy,” Stroh said of Londregan. “It’s horrifying to tell him that — he’s 7. And he doesn’t deserve this. Ricky doesn’t deserve this. His four other children don’t deserve this, and he absolutely needs justice.”

Cobb’s father, Ricky Cobb Jr., said in a press conference in January that he was struggling to stay strong for his family.

“This is a hard one,” he said. “I will say to any father who has lost his child, this takes you to a different level of how to stand strong. I had to stand strong for my kids.”

Londregan’s attorney, Christopher Madel, told ABC News in April that he would represent him in both the civil and criminal cases. “We will fight the civil case with the same vigor as we have the criminal case,” he said at the time.

In a statement after Londregan was first charged, Madel criticized prosecutors and described Londregan as a “hero.”

“This County Attorney has provided sweetheart deals to murderers and kidnappers, and now, today, she charges a hero. This County Attorney is literally out of control,” Madel said. “Open season on law enforcement must end. And it’s going to end with this case.”

ABC News’ Dhanika Pineda and Davi Merchan contributed to this report.
 

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