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US: Police traffic stop turns deadly

August 2, 2023

By Andy Rose, CNN

(CNN) — Three Minnesota State Patrol troopers are on leave after one of them fatally shot a man during a traffic stop early Monday in Minneapolis, and the state is investigating the shooting, authorities say.

“This is just a tremendously sad situation,” the state patrol’s chief, Col. Matt Langer, said in a news conference Tuesday. The names of the troopers have not been released.

Law enforcement has also not named the driver who was killed, but his family has identified him as Ricky Cobb II. The man’s face is blurred in body-worn camera footage released by the state patrol on Tuesday.

“I am so hurt. I’m confused. I’m speechless,” Cobb’s mother, Nyra Fields-Miller, said during a news conference Tuesday.

The fatal interaction began when troopers pulled over a car that was traveling on Interstate 94 without its taillights turned on, according to Langer.

“Troopers learned that the driver was actually wanted by law enforcement in Ramsey County in connection with a felony Order for Protection violation,” Langer said.

The body camera footage shows a trooper speaking to Cobb through the driver’s side window. The trooper asks him to step out of the car and says, “We just have some stuff to talk about.”

The driver – who is Black – asks for a more detailed explanation. When Cobb asks whether the stop is related to a warrant, the trooper replies, “No, it’s not a warrant.” Cobb then refuses to get out of the car.

A second trooper opens the front passenger-side door, and then the first trooper opens the front driver-side door and attempts to remove Cobb physically, body camera and dashboard camera footage shows. The car appears to move forward, and then shots are heard, the dashboard camera footage shows.

“A state patrol trooper discharged their firearm during the course of this incident,” Langer said. The trooper who fired was the one standing at the front passenger-side door, Langer said.

Both troopers are seen falling to the ground as Cobb drives away, the footage shows. A third trooper is also seen standing next to the car.

The troopers then pursue the man’s car in their patrol vehicles and eventually catch up to it as it is slowly moving next to a guardrail, the video shows. The troopers use their vehicles to pin the car to the guardrail.

The video shows the troopers attempting to administer first aid to Cobb. “I don’t have a pulse. I’m going to start CPR,” one trooper says.

CNN has sought comment from the Minnesota State Patrol Troopers Association.

Langer said he could not immediately explain why the trooper thought deadly force was required.

“I simply don’t know what they were thinking,” he said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – a separate state law enforcement agency – is investigating the shooting. The case will then be turned over to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether any charges will be filed, a spokesperson for the office told CNN.

“This is an important decision that impacts everyone in our community, including the family and friends of Ricky Cobb, the troopers who were involved, and our broader community,” Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a written statement. “I take both police accountability and the integrity of the legal process very seriously.”

Cobb’s mother said his death has had a “devastating” impact on his children and siblings.

“I’m hurting so incredibly bad from my heart, my soul and my body,” Fields-Miller said. “I want justice for my son.”

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