The family of Ricky Cobb II, a Minnesota man who was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop on July 31, 2023, called for justice after a Minnesota State Patrol trooper was charged Wednesday in connection to the death of the 33-year-old.
"I stand in solidarity and for justice for my son," Cobb's mother, Nyra Fields-Miller, said during a press conference Thursday. "I thank everyone for standing with me and believing there is and there will be justice for Ricky Cobb II."
Cobb's father, Ricky Cobb Jr., said Ricky and his twin brother were his firstborn children, and he has had to stay strong for the family after his son was killed. "This is a hard one," he said. "I will say to any father who has lost his child, this takes you to a different level of how to stand strong. I had to stand strong for my kids."
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that Trooper Ryan Londregan has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter.
"While deadly force by peace officers is justified in some circumstances, the criminal complaint alleges the circumstances in this case did not justify the use of deadly force," Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a statement.
The decision to charge Londregan came after a thorough investigation conducted by her office and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Moriarty added.
"A critical component of the work of the Minnesota State Patrol is engaging with drivers during motor vehicle stops," Moriarty said in the statement, adding: "Trooper Londregan did not follow this training."
Londregan's attorney, Chris Madel, referred ABC News to a brief video statement posted on his website when asked about the charges against his client Wednesday.
"This county attorney has provided sweetheart deals to murderers and kidnappers and now today she charges a hero," Madel said in the video. "This county attorney is literally out of control. Open season on law enforcement must end, and it's going to end with this case."
Cobb's family, along with their attorneys Harry Daniels, Bakari Sellers and F. Clayton Tyler, thanked prosecutors on Thursday for charging Londregan and said that, for them, this is the first step toward justice.
"This is not a Black and white thing. No matter who wants to make it a Black and white thing," Daniels said. "This is not a law enforcement versus citizen thing. This is a right versus wrong [thing]."
Londregan, along with the two other troopers involved in the incident, was placed on paid administrative leave amid the investigation and remains on paid leave pending an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Internal Affairs Division, a spokesperson for the Minnesota State Patrol told ABC News on Wednesday.
"Any time a use-of-force incident ends with the loss of a life, it is tragic. Ricky Cobb II's death is no different," Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, said in a statement Wednesday. "This is a sad situation for everyone involved. We acknowledge the deep loss felt by Mr. Cobb's family and friends. We also recognize the gravity of this situation for the State Patrol and our troopers tasked with making difficult split-second decisions."
The Minnesota State Patrol is conducting a review of the DPS's training and policies, Langer added.
Charges against Londregan come months after the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released body camera footage from Aug. 2, 2023, that shows part of the fatal traffic stop in Minneapolis.
According to the Minnesota DPS, Cobb was initially pulled over because he was driving his Ford Fusion without any taillights on I-94 near Lowry Avenue just after 1:50 a.m. But after he was stopped, the trooper learned Cobb was wanted for a felony-level violation, the DPS said.
Troopers tried to detain Cobb, but he refused to get out of his vehicle and started to drive away as troopers attempted to physically remove him, according to the DPS. A trooper, later identified as Londregan, fired his gun and struck Cobb multiple times, the DPS said.
The body camera video appears to show two troopers speaking with Cobb while standing outside the driver and the passenger side windows, with a third trooper standing behind the car.
As Cobb attempts to drive away, a trooper attempts to stop him and appears to grab the steering wheel, the video shows, but the car takes off and knocks two troopers to the ground, while the third is briefly dragged by the car for about a couple of seconds.
The trooper who was standing on the passenger's side of the car appears to fire at Cobb, who drives a short distance and then stops, the video shows.
The video shows the troopers approaching the car and appearing to render aid to Cobb before first responders arrive at the scene.
"Ryan Londregan stole my son from me," Fields-Miller said in a statement on Wednesday. "He gunned Ricky down, my son, for no reason while he was defenseless. Nothing can ever make up for that. But today's decision is the first step toward closure and justice."
"We want to thank the County Attorney's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for their deliberate investigation and their continued transparency," Sellers said in a statement Wednesday. "This is an important first step for this family, for this community and for the cause of accountability and justice across America."
Moriarty shared her condolences with the Cobb family upon announcing the charges.
"Our hearts are with Ricky Cobb's family today, who are grieving an unimaginable loss," Moriarty said Wednesday. "I know that they are devastated and will continue to feel this loss for the rest of their lives."