Ricky Cobb II shooting: Walz planned to remove Moriarty from Londregan case if it wasn’t dismissed

Gov. Tim Walz said if Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty had not dismissed the case against Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan, he would have eventually taken the case away from her.

Moriarty filed a notice to dismiss charges against Londregan on Sunday, saying defense lawyers presented many new pieces of evidence that made it "impossible" to prove that the shooting death of Cobb II was not an authorized use of force incident by Londregan. 

Moriarty held a press conference Monday morning to discuss the dismissal. She noted that the "easiest political decision" for her would be to proceed, but she chose not to do so. She also made remarks against Gov. Walz, saying he has been "very active in inserting himself into this case" and has a conflict, given that he is in control of the Minnesota State Patrol.

"Have you ever seen this governor intervene in any case involving a defendant in his entire tenure?" Moriarty said at the press conference. "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? To center Mr. Londregan as being the victim in this case. Why has that been appropriate? Why hasn’t that been called out?"

Gov. Walz later commented on the decision to drop the case against Londregan while at a press conference for a ceremonial signing of legislation related to straw firearm purchasing on Monday. 

"It was my hope that the county attorney would get to this position…. At some point, if this decision had not been made, yes we would have done that [taken the case away]," Gov. Walz told reporters. 

Hennepin County Attorney's Office response

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office released the following statement Monday afternoon.

"When we received new information from the defense several weeks ago, we began to re-evaluate the case, including consulting with a use of force expert. As is made clear in an extensive report documenting both the facts and the system barriers we encountered throughout the case, the new evidence undermined our ability to meet our burden of proof and County Attorney Moriarty decided we would dismiss. Final work was being done on the report over the weekend and County Attorney Moriarty felt a duty to Ricky Cobb’s family and to the community to make this decision known as soon as was practicable to avoid any further politicization of the case.

"Simultaneously over the weekend, the County Attorney became aware of credible rumors about the Governor potentially intervening in the case. These rumors did not impact the decision to dismiss this case. Rather, given the office’s decision to dismiss this case, the County Attorney felt compelled to notify the Cobb family and the community as soon as the work was completed. The Cobb family has already been subject to vicious attacks while they were forced to endure this case being used as a political football. They deserved to hear the decision from us."