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Trooper accused in motorist’s death makes first court appearance

By: Associated Press//February 2, 2024//

Trooper accused in motorist’s death makes first court appearance

By: Associated Press//February 2, 2024//

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota state trooper accused in the fatal shooting of motorist Ricky Cobb II can remain free without bail while awaiting trial, a judge ruled Monday during a brief court hearing.

Trooper Ryan Londregan must surrender his passport and avoid contact with witnesses and Cobb’s relatives, the judge ruled. The hearing was the first since Londregan was charged Wednesday with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Cobb, a 33-year-old Black man.

“It’s a start to something,” Cobb’s twin brother, Rashad Cobb, said of the legal proceedings. “And I thank God for that.”

Defense attorney Chris Madel has said that Londregan was acting to protect himself and a colleague. After the hearing, Madel spoke briefly to reporters while surrounded by dozens of current and former police officers.

“Thank you for showing up and we appreciate it,” he said. “Onward with the case.”

Two other troopers pulled Cobb over on Interstate 94 on July 31 and noticed that the lights were out on the Ford Fusion that Cobb was driving, according to the criminal complaint.

One of the troopers, Brett Seide, checked Cobb’s record and found he was wanted for violating a protection order in Ramsey County. The troopers checked in with Ramsey County officials, who asked that Cobb be arrested.

Londregan arrived and went to Cobb’s passenger-side door while Seide approached the driver’s side, according to the complaint. The troopers asked Cobb to get out of the car. Seide told Cobb he was under arrest while Londregan reached inside, unlocked the doors and began opening the passenger door. The complaint said Cobb then shifted into drive and took his foot off the brake.

The complaint said Cobb’s car began to slowly move forward. Londregan reached for his gun, and Cobb stopped the car. The trooper pointed his gun at Cobb and yelled at him to get out. Cobb took his foot off the brake again. In less than a second, Londregan fired his handgun twice at Cobb, striking him both times in the chest, the complaint said.

The car kept moving before striking a concrete median about a quarter-mile away. Cobb died at the scene.

Seide and Trooper Garrett Erickson said they believed lethal force was necessary, according to a court document filed by the defense.

“At that time, I knew that Trooper Londregan and I were in danger of being run over by Cobb’s car, being hit by an oncoming car on the highway, or otherwise being dragged away at a high rate of speed,” Seide said, according to the filing.

Cobb’s sister, Octavia Ruffin, said as she left the courtroom Monday that she wants justice for her brother — and nothing more.

“We’re coming respectfully,” Ruffin said. “We don’t want no drama, no violence, no nothing. Justice for Ricky Cobb II. We will get that.”

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