In Surprise Reversal, Charges Dropped Against Trooper

Ryan Londregan fatally shot a Black motorist during a traffic stop in Minnesota
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2024 10:25 AM CDT
In Surprise Reversal, Charges Dropped Against Trooper
Ryan Londregan walks with his wife to his first court appearance on Jan. 29 at the Hennepin Public Safety Facility in Minneapolis.   (Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP, File)

A surprise about-face by the top prosecutor in Minneapolis means that a white state trooper is in the clear after the fatal shooting of a Black motorist in a high-profile case from last year. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced Sunday that she was dropping murder charges against Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan, who killed Ricky Cobb II in July, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The decision is "one of the most difficult I've made in my career," said Moriarty in her statement. She had come under heavy criticism from law enforcement, as well as six of the state's eight members of Congress, over her initial decision to prosecute, per the New York Times.

Londregan shot Cobb after troopers pulled him over for driving without functioning taillights, and this local news report from KARE 11 contains bodycam footage from the stop. Cobb questioned an order to leave his vehicle, which began moving forward as Londregan and another trooper reached inside and tried to force him out. Londregan fired twice, and his lawyers say he did so to protect himself and his colleague. A team of outside prosecutors recommended to Moriarty that she drop the case because the evidence against Londregan was too weak—particularly in light of the new revelation that the trooper planned to testify he feared Cobb was reaching for Londregan's gun.

  • Moriarty: "Ricky Cobb II should still be alive," the prosecutor said in her statement. "Our decision to not go ahead with charges does not exonerate Trooper Londregan. There are so many points where this night could have gone differently."
  • The trooper: "It's about godd--- time," Londregan attorney Chris Madel tells the Star Tribune. "That's going to be about my only on-the-record comment."
  • The family: "They got bullied. There's no other way around it," says family attorney Bakari Sellers. "There was a unique display of cowardice."
(More Minnesota stories.)

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