USA

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

A Minnesota police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a routine traffic stop last July has had charges against him dropped.

Ryan Londregan, the white soldier accused of killing 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II, had been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter. He had previously pleaded not guilty.

In a statement Sunday evening, Hennepin County Prosecutor Mary Moriarty announced that the charges against Londregan would be dropped. 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 didn’t had never asked officers to refrain from shooting at 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 did not constitute an authorized use of force by a peace officer” and decided to abandon the matter.

At a news conference Monday morning, Moriarty expressed regret at not being able to take the case to court.

“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 am deeply sorry.”

PHOTO: Ricky Cobb II is pictured in an undated photo.

Ricky Cobb II is pictured in an undated photo.

Courtesy of the Cobb family

Civil rights attorneys Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and F. Clayton Tyler, who represent 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 intimidate prosecutors enough and the charges will disappear,” the lawyers said in a statement. “People don’t believe in excuses and neither do we.”

Cobb was arrested on July 31, 2023, around 1:50 a.m. – initially because his tail lights were out, but after being stopped, officers learned he was wanted for violating a protection order in a neighboring county and were asked to take him into custody, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Bodycam footage shows two troopers speaking to Cobb while standing outside the car. Officers attempted to arrest Cobb, but he allegedly refused to get out of the car and attempted to run away. One of the officers appeared to try to grab the steering wheel to stop him, but he sped away, body camera video showed. A trooper, since identified as Londregan, shot multiple times at Cobb, who ran a short distance before hitting 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 the case — accusing them of “unreasonable seizure” and “excessive use of force.”

At a press conference announcing the trial, 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 I felt having to tell my son that the person he looks up to — the person who is supposed to protect and serve — shot his father,” Stroh said of Londregan . “It’s horrible to say that to him, he’s 7 years old. And he doesn’t deserve this. Ricky doesn’t deserve this. His other four kids don’t deserve this, and he absolutely needs justice.”

PHOTO: Trooper Ryan Londregan makes his first court appearance to answer charges of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop last summer, Minneapolis, MN, on January 29, 2024.

Trooper Ryan Londregan goes to his first court appearance to answer charges of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop last summer, Minneapolis, MN, January 29 2024.

Renãe Jones Schneider/AP

Cobb’s father, Ricky Cobb Jr., said at a news conference in January that he struggled to stay strong for his family.

“It’s a tough question,” he said. “I will tell any father who has lost their child that it takes you to another level in how to stay strong. I had to stay strong for my children.”

Londregan’s attorney, Christopher Madel, told ABC News in April that he would represent him in both civil and criminal cases. “We will fight civil cases with the same vigor as criminal cases,” 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 offered sweet deals to murderers and kidnappers, and now, today, she’s charging a hero. This county attorney is literally out of control,” Madel said. “The open campaign against law enforcement must end. And it will end with this case.”

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

ABC News

Back to top button