The trooper in question, Ryan Londregan, was charged with three counts: second-degree murder while committing a felony, first-degree assault resulting in great bodily harm, and second-degree manslaughter as a result of culpable negligence. If convicted and asked to serve his sentences concurrently, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Londregan’s use of deadly force was not justified. “While deadly force by peace officers is justified in some circumstances, the criminal complaint alleges the circumstances in this case did not justify the use of deadly force,” the statement read.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office did not comment on seeking more serious charges against Londregan. Nonetheless, the attorneys of the family of Ricky Cobb II support the charging decision, despite the desire for more serious charges.
“This is not a law enforcement versus a citizen thing. This is right versus wrong,” said attorney Harry Daniels during a morning press conference on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Hennepin County Government Center. “[While] the family would like [Londregan to be charged with] intentional [murder], we understand the hurdles and the barriers that may be in place to seek a conviction.”
Daniels, along with former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers and Minneapolis attorney F. Clayton Tyler, are representing Cobb’s next of kin.
Londregan’s attorney Chris Madel derided Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty’s charging decision in a video posted to his website. “This county attorney is literally out of control,” said Madel. “This county attorney has provided sweetheart deals to murderers and kidnappers, and now today, she charges a hero.”
Madel and his colleagues have filed numerous motions to dismiss, including one where they accused the county attorney of circumventing the grand jury process; the grand jury did not return a recommendation for indictment, but the county attorney went ahead and filed charges anyway.
Londregan was charged by summons, which means the county attorney did not ask for him to turn himself in to authorities nor for law enforcement to arrest and hold him ahead of arraignment. Although he remains a free man, prosecutors are expected to ask Londregan to surrender his firearms and passport. His first court hearing is on Monday, Jan. 29.
In the early morning hours of July 31, 2023, Londregan provided backup for two other state troopers in pulling over Cobb on Interstate 94 at Dowling Avenue in North Minneapolis. They initially pulled him over because the taillights of the vehicle he was driving were off.
The officer who pulled him over, Brett Seide, found Cobb was wanted for questioning by Ramsey County for violating an order for protection. Seide asked Cobb to step out of the vehicle, with Cobb refusing because he wanted to talk to his attorney. Seide and Garrett Erickson, another trooper, placed him under arrest and tried to wrestle Cobb out of his vehicle. Londregan yelled at Cobb to get out of his vehicle. The vehicle Cobb drove started to move as he took his foot off the brake pedal. Londregan then shot him twice. Cobb died at the scene.
Londregan has been a state trooper since 2021. Before joining the state patrol, he was a private investigator in the Twin Cities. He relocated to the Twin Cities in 2019 with his wife, Grace. Before relocating, he was an unpaid intern at the Vermont State Police while studying for a degree in business administration at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt.
Last May, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Minnesota awarded Londregan “Outstanding Rookie” for his work in “removing” impaired drivers from Twin Cities roadways, as well as two “Hat Trick” awards from the Office of Traffic Safety for arresting three impaired drivers in one shift in 2022.
The state patrol says Londregan will remain on administrative leave as they conduct their own internal investigation. “That investigation … will inform employment decisions,” said State Patrol Col. Matt Langer in a statement. Langer also added that they are conducting a critical incident review that determines any changes to their training and policies.
At the time Cobb died, he was employed as a mechanic at Grede’s St. Cloud iron casting manufacturing operation commuting there from home in the Twin Cities. “He was a young, Black American who wanted the best for his children,” said Cobb’s mother Nyra Fields-Miller. Fields-Miller also thanked supporters who stood with her, including activists Spike Moss and Toshira Garraway, who runs an organization that supports family members whose loved ones were killed by law enforcement.
Moss also welcomed the charges at the press conference because that means people, including Cobb’s family, will have a fairer shot at justice. “They are breaking all the laws that we won. There are a lot of laws that should have stopped this. And hopefully, the lawyer will be able to bring those laws up that they put into place,” said Moss.
Civil rights leader Bishop William Barber also welcomed the charges. “The police are sworn to protect and serve. When he killed Ricky Cobb II, State Trooper Ryan Londregan committed the ultimate violation not only to that oath but to his duty to the people of Minnesota and justice itself,” said Bishop Barber in a statement. “By charging him with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and first-degree assault, County Attorney Mary Moriarty has done the right thing and the only thing that will help correct this unjust system.”