Minnesota trooper fatally shot man fleeing questioning for alleged restraining order violation

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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MINNEAPOLIS — The head of the Minnesota State Patrol on Tuesday said troopers tried to take a man into custody for allegedly violating a restraining order before fatally shooting him as he fled by car.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty on Tuesday identified the driver as 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II, who was Black.

Troopers pulled Cobb over for a traffic stop early Monday on Interstate 94. Body and dash cam videos released Tuesday by the Minnesota State Patrol appear to show the taillights on the Ford Fusion he was driving were out.

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Troopers who checked his license found what Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer called a “pick up and hold” on Cobb, meaning the nearby Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office suspected he committed a felony violation of a protection order and wanted to question him.

Langer said troopers checked to make sure Ramsey County deputies still wanted Cobb in custody, then tried to get him to leave the car.

When troopers opened his doors and attempted to pull him out, Cobb began driving with two troopers still hanging out the sides of the car, body and dash camera footage shows. A trooper then shot him as he drove away.

The Hennepin County coroner ruled Cobb’s death a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating. Three troopers have been placed on leave.

“He should not have been killed like that,” Trahern Crews, the lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Minnesota, told The Associated Press. “It just reminds us that driving while Black is really dangerous in the state of Minnesota.”

An event titled “Justice for Ricky Cobb” was scheduled for Tuesday evening in Minneapolis, co-hosted by Black Lives Matter Minnesota.

Friends and relatives gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul on Tuesday to honor Cobb, the Star Tribune reported.

“The worst day of my life was Monday,” said Cobb’s mother Nyra Fields-Miller. “I want justice for my son. I am in complete sorrow.”

Danielle Pickett, the mother of Cobb’s two older boys, told the Star Tribune that she thinks his race contributed his shooting, and that she saw him being racially profiled in the past.

“We’re just leaving fatherless kids out here unnecessarily. These people are fathers; their children need them, too,” said Pickett, 35, of Maple Grove. She said Cobb “loved his kids more than anything in life.”

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