With charges dismissed, Moriarty defends decision to charge state soldier and criticizes ‘political circus’

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty has dropped murder, manslaughter and assault charges against state trooper Ryan Londregan in the shooting death of motorist Ricky Cobb II.

But at a news conference on Monday, Moriarty defended her initial decision to file murder, manslaughter and assault charges in the case. She criticized what she called systemic problems with the state patrol, including inadequate training. She blasted Londregan’s attorneys, as well as law enforcement groups and Gov. Tim Walz, for their actions and comments surrounding the case.

And she criticized what she called a “political circus that has repeatedly attempted to position Mr. Londregan as a victim.”

“Ricky Cobb was the victim in this case. Ricky Cobb should still be alive today. 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,” Moriarty said.

After the press conference, Governor Tim Walz revealed he planned to use his legal authority to remove Moriarty from the case. Moriarty’s office said she was “aware of credible rumors” about this event but that they did not influence the decision.

Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said in a statement that Londregan “should never have been charged and we are glad this political case is over. Enough is enough.”

Attorneys for Cobb’s family said they were disappointed but not surprised by the decision.

“Like many, we expect the absence of justice and accountability when Black lives are lost in this country. In fact, the state of Minnesota has repeatedly demonstrated that Black lives are simply not valued, whether it be Daunte Demetrius Wright, Philando Castile or Ricky Cobb II,” they wrote, saying Moriarty “bowed to political pressure to bring charges Pull.”

A group walks into a courthouse.

Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan enters the Hennepin County Government Center on March 21.

Kerem Yücel | MPR news

Reasons for dismissal

Londregan was one of three state troopers who tried to arrest Cobb during a traffic stop in Minneapolis last summer. Cobb tried to drive away, and Londregan shot into the vehicle. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges that have now been dismissed.

Moriarty cited two main reasons for deciding to drop the charges. First, she said, Londregan said in court in April that he saw Cobb reach for his — Londregan’s — gun. He said he feared Cobb intended to harm him or his partner.

Moriarty said her office was previously unaware that Londregan would use this defense — and that it was difficult for them to prove that Londregan’s use of force was unjustified.

Moriarty also said a State Patrol trainer recently issued a statement saying he never instructed troops not to shoot at a moving vehicle — so Londregan did not violate his training.

Moriarty stood by her initial decision to press charges, saying it made sense based on the evidence she had at the time.

A woman holds a sign during a meeting

A woman holds up a poster demanding justice for Ricky Cobb II during a Justice for All Stolen Lives March in St. Paul on August 20.

Tim Evans | MPR news

Criticism of the defense, governor

The case had been controversial from the start, with Moriarty accusing Londregan’s defense and supporters of using “scorched earth tactics to intimidate anyone involved in this case, or anyone who might consider holding a police officer accountable in the future.” ‘.

She also accused them of allowing dozens of supporters to “intervene” ahead of a court hearing.

“Some of them taunted Ricky Cobb’s twin brother, Rashad,” she alleged. “Our employees were shocked by the spectacle, which reminded them of January 6.”

Imran Ali, general counsel of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, told MPR News that these claims were incorrect.

“These were peaceful people who were there to support someone they believed was being unfairly persecuted. Not once have I ever seen any of Mr Londregan’s supporters act unnaturally,” Ali said.

Moriarty also criticized Gov. Tim Walz, who questioned the tax decision earlier this year.

“Why is it appropriate for a governor who has never picked up the phone to call me, who is not a lawyer, who does not understand the nuances of this case, to talk about it publicly?,” Moriarty said.

Walz said Monday that the prosecution had been flawed from the start and that he was still considering reassigning the case.

“At some point, if this decision had not been made, we certainly would have done that. I also say that they don’t take it lightly. I think that’s wrong. It shouldn’t be like that. But there is a safety net in place that allows an egregious situation like this to be corrected,” Walz said.

Moriarty was critical of the troopers’ handling of the interaction with Cobb, the training they received from the patrol and the lack of cooperation in the investigation after the shooting.

What’s next

Londregan remains on paid leave while the patrol reviews the incident.

Although the criminal charges were dismissed, Cobb’s family filed a federal lawsuit against Londregan and his partner for using excessive force.

And Moriarty said Monday she wants to see systemic changes. In their summary of the case, special prosecutors made several recommendations to the patrol, including that the agency prohibit shooting into or from a moving vehicle; placing greater emphasis on de-escalation; and “build a training module for recruits and veteran troopers focused on this incident to learn from the mistakes and poor tactics that were used.”

State Patrol Col. Christina Bogojevic issued a statement Sunday — ahead of Moriarty’s news conference — saying troops “work hard every day to keep Minnesota safe. They find themselves in an area of ​​work that is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous – but also more important than ever. The use of force that cost Ricky Cobb II’s life took place in a split second. We acknowledge the loss felt by Mr. Cobb’s family. We also recognize the tremendous toll this incident has taken on our troopers and staff.”