Ricky Cobb II’s family sues two state troopers for excessive use of force

a woman speaks to the public while another woman embraces a kid
Octavia Ruffin (center), sister of Ricky Cobb II, speaks while flanked by Ricky Cobb Sr., father of Ricky Cobb II, and Nyra Fields-Miller, mother of Ricky Cobb II, as well as other family members and attorneys during a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

The family of Ricky Cobb II announced on Wednesday that they’re filing a lawsuit against two state troopers who were on the scene when he was shot and killed in July 2023. State trooper Ryan Londregan shot Cobb during an attempted arrest at a traffic stop, and his partner trooper Brett Seide was with him.

MPR News reporter Estelle Timar-Wilcox has been following the situation. She joined MPR News guest host Emily Bright for a debrief on the situation.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Audio transcript

INTERVIEWER: The family of Ricky Cobb II announced just in the last hour that they are filing a lawsuit against two state troopers who were on the scene when he was shot and killed in July 2023. State trooper Ryan Londregon shot Cobb during an attempted arrest at a traffic stop. His partner, trooper Brian Seide, was with him. Let's hear what Bakari Sellers, Cobb's family's attorney, has to say.

BAKARI SELLERS,: We have filed a federal civil rights action this morning against both officers. This family's been through a lot. We've seen-- we've seen the media, we've seen the police union, we've seen everybody in this city act like Ricky Cobb II is not the victim in this case. People have treated this officer like he is the victim in this case.

And so we're here today to say that Ricky Cobb II lost his life, but he should be here today. He should be celebrating the birthdays of his children. He should be celebrating holidays with his family. He should be a member of the community. Ricky Cobb was a productive citizen of this community, and we will not let you vilify him.

INTERVIEWER: MPR reporter Estelle Timar-Wilcox has been following this story today, and she is here now. Hello, Estelle.


INTERVIEWER: So what exactly is in this lawsuit?

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: Yeah Cobb's family is arguing that Londregon and Seide used excessive force and conducted an unlawful seizure when they tried to arrest him. The troopers tried to open the doors of his vehicle while he was stopped to get him out. And the suit alleges that that was unreasonable.

INTERVIEWER: Now, for those who don't recall, remind us how Ricky Cobb II second was killed.

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: This happened back at the end of July last summer. State troopers say they pulled Cobb over initially for a taillight issue. When they looked him up, they found that he was wanted for violating a domestic violence protection order.

So Cobb stopped his car, and troopers went to try to arrest him. He didn't get out of his car when asked. Body camera footage shows troopers opening the doors, reaching in, and trying to get him out. And at this point, as one of the troopers is reaching in, Cobb takes his foot off the brake, the car starts moving down the highway, and that's when Londregon fired and shot him, and Cobb was pronounced dead. And investigators later found a handgun from his car, but said that the body camera footage never shows him holding it.

INTERVIEWER: Estelle, I know you were at the press conference that just wrapped up. Let's listen to what the mother of Cobb's children had to say.

OLIVIA STROH: My name is Olivia Stroh. I am the mother of his seven-year-old son. I just want to say that the pain that I felt from having to tell my son that the person he looks up to, the person who's supposed to protect and serve, he shot his daddy. And that's horrifying.

It's horrifying to tell him that. He's seven. And he doesn't deserve this. Ricky doesn't deserve this. His four other children don't deserve this. And he absolutely needs justice.

INTERVIEWER: What else did you hear from Cobb's family?

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: Yeah. Like you just heard from Olivia Stroh, they're grieving. There was another woman there, Danielle Pickett, who has an 11-year-old with Cobb. She said it's hard to raise him without his dad. So both of those mothers and a couple of Cobb's siblings spoke, and they said they want justice for their loved one.

INTERVIEWER: And so Trooper Landrigan is facing murder charges in this case. That trial has not begun yet. What have we heard so far from Londregon's attorneys?

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: Londregon's team hasn't responded yet to this lawsuit since it was just filed less than an hour ago. But his attorneys have previously denied that Londregon used excessive force. They've maintained throughout this ongoing pretrial proceeding that Londregon acted to protect himself and his fellow troopers who were on the scene.

They've said that Londregon reasonably thought that one of his fellow troopers, Seide, was in physical danger. He was still partially inside Cobb's car as Cobb started to move it.

INTERVIEWER: Estelle, it's pretty unusual to file a civil lawsuit before a criminal trial. Are there concerns that this pretrial publicity will affect the criminal case?

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: Yeah, it's unusual, but not unheard of. It's also unusual for law enforcement officials to be on trial. This could be a chance for the family to get their voice out there. And this has already been a pretty thorny pretrial process. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has come under fire for its handling of the case, notably for the office's choice to stop consulting with a use-of-force expert after he told prosecutors that he didn't think Londregon acted out of line. So some elected officials and police groups say that they want Governor Walz to take the case from Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty and transfer it to new prosecutors. And that's something that family attorneys today denounced as well.

INTERVIEWER: So what's next for this lawsuit going forward?

ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX: So they just filed it about an hour ago, as we know. The family attorneys say that this is just the first step. They anticipate potentially adding complaints as they get more information.

INTERVIEWER: That was MPR News reporter Estelle Timar-Wilcox. Thank you, Estelle.


INTERVIEWER: We'll have more coverage on this lawsuit this afternoon on All Things Considered.

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