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Prosecutor begins to review whether Minnesota trooper's shooting of Black man was justified

An investigation into a Minnesota trooper fatally shooting a Black man has wrapped up, and now it is up to prosecutors to decide if charges are warranted.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that the Minnesota Public Safety Department’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had submitted the findings of its inquiry into the death of 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II.

Trooper Ryan Londregan shot Cobb on July 31 after he refused to leave his car during a stop on a Minneapolis freeway, according to the bureau, which investigates such shootings.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty vowed in in a news release to reach a decision "as quickly as possible” and said a use-of-force expert had been enlisted to help.

But she also said she was disappointed to learn from state investigators about a lack of cooperation from some patrol employees who weren’t the subject of the investigation but potentially had useful information. She stressed that “the family, the community, and the troopers involved in this incident all deserve answers.”

One of Londregan’s attorneys, Chris Madel, said in a statement that “if the State’s investigation is thorough, fair, and actually independent, there will be no charges.”

Bakari Sellers, who represents Cobb’s family, said in a statement that while it was troubling that some patrol staff wasn't cooperating, the days of “turning a blind eye are over."

“Accountability," Sellers said, “is coming no matter how hard you try to hide.”

Trooper Brett Seide initially pulled Cobb over when he saw the taillights were out on the Ford Fusion Cobb was driving, the bureau said in an earlier statement.

The bureau said Seide checked Cobb’s record and found he was wanted for a “probable cause arrest for a felony order-for-protection violation” issued by a nearby sheriff’s office.

Londregan and Trooper Garrett Erickson arrived later and helped as Seide tried to pull Cobb out of the car. Londregan ultimately shot Cobb, who managed to drive a short distance before stopping on the interstate. He died at the scene.

Investigators found a handgun and two cartridge casings in the back of Cobb’s car, but they noted that dash and body camera footage does not show Cobb holding the weapon. Footage shows Cobb holding his hands near the steering wheel as troopers talked to him.

The three troopers are on administrative leave.

In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked a global protest movement and a nationwide reckoning on racism in policing.

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This story corrects that the shooting was July 31, not last month.