Ricky Cobb II shooting: Police organization requests prosecutor change

Alleging that Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty "sought to bury" the independent analysis of a use-of-force expert, Minnesota’s largest association representing public safety professionals has issued a letter formally requesting that the case against the Minnesota State Trooper involved in the July 2023 shooting of Ricky Cobb II be taken over by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

On Monday, the legal team for Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan prompted new questions about the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office's (HCAO) decision to charge the state trooper.

Londregan's defense team accused Moriarty’s office of ignoring early findings from nationally recognized use-of-force expert Jeff Noble.

In a 52-page defense filing, Londregan’s legal team believes they have figured out why his opinion was not ultimately used – Noble opined that Londregan may be justified in shooting Cobb, if Londregan perceived his fellow trooper was in harm's way.

In a letter released by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association on Friday, the organization stated that, "despite having announced to the press and public that Mr. Noble’s independent analysis would be ‘critical’ to the charging decision, the Hennepin County Attorney did not heed Mr. Noble’s guidance. Worse, public filings show that the Hennepin County Attorney did more than ignore Mr. Noble, but actively sought to bury Mr. Noble’s opinion and excluded Mr. Noble from the process entirely."

The letter then alleges that, "After hearing Mr. Noble’s supposedly ‘preliminary’ analysis, the HCAO did not supply Mr. Noble with grand jury transcripts, despite committing to do so, charged Trooper Londregan with murder apparently without further consultation with their own ‘critical’ expert, and only then directed Mr. Noble to cease working (i.e., to not create a final report). The HCAO then unsuccessfully sought to block public access to all filings and institute a gag order on the defense before providing any discovery. And once Mr. Noble’s opinion became public, the HCAO responded to justified criticism by claiming to the press that Mr. Noble’s opinion was merely preliminary and based on an incomplete record because Mr. Noble did not have the very grand jury transcripts that the HCAO withheld from him… The law-enforcement community is united in outrage over this ongoing abuse."

Noble, a leading voice in the field nationally, has previously consulted with local prosecutors in the police killings of George Floyd and Philando Castile.

Prosecutors filed charges against Londregan, 27, in January with second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault in connection to the traffic stop where Cobb was fatally shot.

Moriarty has said her office would prosecute the case in the courtroom – and not in the media.

A statement from her office following the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association's request said:

"We are disappointed but not surprised to see MPPOA’s request that the Governor give special treatment to this case and, for just the second time in the history of the state, remove a case from our jurisdiction. We will not talk about the facts of this case. That’s for the courtroom.

MPPOA is right about one thing - there is a crisis in confidence, but it is not because of attempts at accountability. It is because of well-documented and horrific instances where some officers abused their power and used unauthorized force. These abuses have fallen disproportionately upon the shoulders of black and brown Minnesotans. It is unfortunate to see MPPOA fail to acknowledge this history and fail to try to repair it."