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Minnesota state trooper charged with second-degree murder in death of man during traffic stop in Minneapolis

Family members of Ricky Cobb II speak at a news conference outside Hennepin County Government Center on August 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (Photo: Trisha Ahmed/AP)

(CNN) — A Minnesota State Patrol trooper charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop in Minneapolis last year made his first court appearance Monday.

State Trooper Ryan Londregan also faces charges of first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter, according to a criminal complaint.

Londregan was released without bail after his initial court appearance Monday. The judge ordered Londregan to surrender his passport – and he is prohibited from transporting firearms. He remains on paid administrative leave, the state patrol said in a news release.

Londregan was not asked to enter a plea Monday. His attorney, Chris Madel, previously called him “a hero” and has filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the charges.

Madel accuses Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty of “abuse of the grand-jury process,” saying she filed the charge against Londregan on her own only after a grand jury declined to indict him during their own investigation.

“State troopers may only use deadly force when it is necessary to protect a person from a specific identified threat of great bodily harm or death that was reasonably likely to occur. That did not exist in this case,” Moriarty said at a news conference when the charges were announced Wednesday. “Ricky Cobb II should be alive today.”

Investigators said Cobb was pulled over July 31 on Interstate 94 by three troopers for not having taillights turned on at night, and troopers determined he was wanted for violating a protective order in Ramsey County. Body camera video showed that Cobb – who is Black – refused to leave his vehicle after being told that he was not facing an arrest warrant.

Londregan – who is White – and another trooper, are seen trying to physically remove Cobb from the car, and the vehicle appears to move forward slowly. The criminal complaint says Londregan shot Cobb twice, and the vehicle sped up and crashed into a concrete barrier a quarter-mile away. Cobb was pronounced dead at the scene.

The “(Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association) will vigorously defend our trooper who is unjustly charged as a result of acting in accordance with his legal responsibilities,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement.

“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. Open season on law enforcement must end. And it’s going to end with this case,” Madel said Wednesday.

“Ryan Londregan stole my son from me,” said Cobb’s mother Nyra Fields-Miller in a statement released Wednesday by her attorneys. “He gunned Ricky down – for no reason while he was defenseless. Nothing can ever make up for that. But today’s decision is the first step toward closure and justice.”

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