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Prosecutors to drop charges against Minn. trooper after video shows motorist reaching for gun before OIS

The evidence would make it impossible for prosecutors to prove that Trooper Ryan Londregan’s actions were an illegal use of force, the county attorney’s office stated

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors plan to dismiss murder and manslaughter charges against a Minnesota state trooper who fatally shot Ricky Cobb II as Cobb tried to pull away from a traffic stop, saying the decision comes in response to recent statements from the trooper’s attorney and new analysis of video from the scene.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty filed a notice to dismiss the charges after Trooper Ryan Londregan’s defense team revealed prospective testimony during an April court hearing that the trooper believed Cobb was reaching for a firearm — and that a Minnesota State Patrol trainer said he never instructed officers to refrain from shooting into a moving vehicle.

The evidence would have made it impossible for prosecutors to prove that Londregan’s actions were not an authorized use of force by a peace officer, the county attorney’s office said in a statement released Sunday.

Referring to the decision to drop the charges, Londregan’s attorney, Chris Madel, told the Star Tribune, “It’s about g**d*** time. That’s going to be about my only on the record comment.”

Bakari Sellers, an attorney representing Cobb’s family, told the Star Tribune the family was disappointed with prosecutors.

“They got bullied. There’s no other way around it,” Sellers said.

Londregan, 27, pleaded not guilty May 15 in the death of Cobb, and his trial was set to begin Sept. 9.

Troopers pulled the 33-year-old Cobb over on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis last July 31 because the lights were out on his car. They then found that the Spring Lake Park man was wanted for violating a protection order in neighboring Ramsey County. Londregan shot Cobb twice as Cobb tried to drive away after troopers ordered him to get out of his car.

Prosecutors and a law enforcement expert reviewed footage from the scene and found that, as Londregan’s partner clung to the passenger’s door, Cobb moved his hand upward. Cobb did have a gun in the vehicle. Moriarty told the Star Tribune there is still no evidence he intended to grab it but that the defense team’s statements caused prosecutors to reconsider the evidence through a new lens.