Cobb family files federal civil rights suit against troopers in traffic stop shooting

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. The family of Ricky Cobb II, who was fatally shot during an attempted traffic stop last year, announced a lawsuit against two state troopers.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Updated 4:05 p.m.

Family members of Ricky Cobb II said Wednesday they filed a federal lawsuit against two Minnesota state troopers alleging the pair used excessive force and violated Cobb’s civil rights during a traffic stop last year that ended with one of the troopers shooting and killing Cobb.

“No traffic stop should end deadly, ever. Everyone should be able to get home,” Cobb’s sister Octavia Ruffin told reporters Wednesday while flanked by attorneys, family and community members at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Ruffin said she hopes the court case will prove to the public that her brother’s shooting was wrong.

“In due time you all will hear the truth and hear everything about the situation and know that my brother did not do anything wrong,” Ruffin said. “This officer did shoot my brother, he murdered him, he didn’t have a pistol, a weapon, nothing in his hand — he did nothing wrong.”

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

portrait of two Black people at a press conference
Rashad Cobb, the twin brother of Ricky Cobb II (left), and Octavia Ruffin (right), sister of Ricky Cobb II, look on during Wednesday's press conference.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Cobb, 33, was pulled over on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis at about 2 a.m. on July 31 after troopers said they could not see visible taillights on his car. Troopers later learned Cobb was wanted on “probable cause arrest for a felony order-for-protection violation” in Ramsey County, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Standing on either side of the car, troopers Ryan Londregan and Brett Seide attempted to pull Cobb from the vehicle after initially asking him to step out. State Patrol video shows Cobb starting to drive away, tossing the troopers to the ground. Londregan, on the passenger side, fires several shots into Cobb’s car before falling.

A wounded Cobb drove a little farther before crashing into a highway barrier. He died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. Investigators said they found a handgun and two cartridges in Cobb’s car, but that none of the body camera video shows him holding the gun.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty later charged Londregan with murder and manslaughter in Cobb’s killing, a move that’s drawn criticism from the state’s police officer association and some state lawmakers. Gov. Tim Walz is weighing whether to take the case away from Moriarty and give it to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

a man holds a piece of paper and speaks
Bakari Sellers, an attorney for the Cobb family, speaks during Wednesday's press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Londregan’s attorneys maintain that he acted to save his life and Seide’s as Cobb drove away while the troopers were trying to get him out of the car.

Wednesday’s lawsuit accuses Seide and Londregan of violating Cobb’s civil rights. Family attorney Bakari Sellers said the media and the police union were portraying Londregan as the victim of overzealous prosecution — but that Cobb was the victim in the traffic stop confrontation.

“We’ve seen the media, we’ve seen the police union, we’ve seen everyone in this city act like Ricky Cobb II is not the victim in this case,” Sellers said. “People have treated this officer like he’s the victim in this case, so we’re here today to say that Ricky Cobb II lost his life, but he should be here today.”

The lawsuit alleges that the troopers violated Cobb’s constitutional right to be free seizures when they tried to arrest and then Londregan took his life. They also argue that the troopers used unreasonable force on Cobb, who was not holding a weapon or threatening anyone.

A group walks into a courthouse.
Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan enters the Hennepin County Government Center on March 21.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

The lawsuit asks for “compensatory, actual and consequential damages,” including the costs of attorneys’ fees, loss of Cobb’s support, loss of Cobb’s potential earnings and punitive damages.

Sellers also expressed support for Moriarty and hope that the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office would be allowed to prosecute Londregan.

“We have faith the governor will do the right thing,” Sellers said. “This ain’t about politics to us. This is about a young man who lost his life.”

Londregan’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 29 in Hennepin County. His attorneys will argue that charges against the trooper should be dropped due to lack of probable cause. They’ve also argued that any correspondence between Cobb’s family and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office should be turned over to the defense team.