Gov. Tim Walz took a private meeting this week with the family of Ricky Cobb II, who was shot and killed by a state trooper July 31, which some police leaders believe could create a conflict of interest.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the State Patrol shooting — both are divisions of the Department of Public Safety, which is overseen by Gov. Walz’s administration.
“We all want the integrity of the investigation — as well the perception of the integrity of the investigation and charging decisions — to be fair and to follow the impartial rule of law. While it’s understandable to grieve a death, it’s improper to involve oneself with the integrity and transparency of our legal process. This private meeting, called ‘important’ by Cobb’s family, with unknown assurances and information, specifically undermines due process, [the] rule of law, and [the] rights of our law enforcement officers,” Imran Ali, general counsel for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, wrote in a letter to the governor Thursday.
Cobb was shot to death during a traffic stop in the early morning hours of July 31 in Minneapolis by state trooper Ryan Londregan. He was pulled over by trooper Brett Seide on I-94 around 1:50 a.m. because his taillights were not on. Seide learned that Cobb was wanted in Ramsey County for violating an order for protection. Londregan and trooper Garrett Erickson arrived on the scene to assist.
All three troopers then approached Cobb’s car, asking him to get out and attempting to physically remove him because he refused to exit. As Londregan and Seide began to open the doors to his vehicle, Cobb put his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand on the gear shift, according to body camera videos. Seide’s head and torso were inside the car, the videos show.
Squad camera video of the shooting clearly shows Cobb’s car moving before Londregan reached for and discharged his gun, killing Cobb.
Gov. Walz met with Cobb’s family in a private meeting Wednesday morning.
“We are concerned that meeting with the family creates a conflict of interest — or minimally, the perception of a conflict — over both the state agencies conducting the investigation, the state agencies employing the officer, and/or a potential legal charging decision,” Ali said in his letter.
According to multiple reports, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, who will be responsible for making a charging decision once the BCA’s investigation is complete, personally met with Cobb’s family this week.
That didn’t sit well with Londregan’s attorney, Christopher Madel, who called the meeting “troubling” and “inappropriate.”
“The Minnesota state and federal constitutions embody the notion that prosecutorial independence is essential to the success of the American judicial process. Impartial prosecutors are critical to the public’s confidence that charging decisions follow the rule of law — and not political winds. Public confidence in such decision-making promotes faith and belief in not only charging decisions, but also the judiciary. And the greater the belief in independent prosecutors and the judiciary, the greater the chance of continued success of our republic. It is unfortunate, therefore, that these recent, inappropriate meetings compel us to take actions to protect Trooper Londregan’s rights,” Madel wrote to Moriarty Thursday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Alpha News.
While expressing confidence that Londregan “not only acted properly, but heroically,” Madel advised Moriarty’s office to preserve all documents related to the meeting, as well as any communications between her office and anyone involved in the investigation.
“As we previously said, we cannot discuss the case further until the BCA has completed their investigation. No PR stunts will change that. The integrity of this process is too important for everyone — the family of Ricky Cobb, the troopers involved, and the broader community,” said Nicholas Kimball, a spokesperson for Moriarty’s office.
“Once the case is submitted to us for review, we will use all the resources available to analyze the evidence and make a decision as quickly as possible.”
Walz’s office did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.