Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, Nov. 9, holding a press conference at the Capitol the day after winning reelection. Photo by Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz, objecting to the governor’s meeting with the family of Ricky Cobb II — the man shot multiple times by a State Patrol trooper after being pulled over on I-94 in north Minneapolis.
Walz met with Cobb’s family on Wednesday — about a week after Ricky Cobb’s death. Cobb’s family and Walz haven’t shared information about what was discussed in the private meeting.
But Imran Ali, general counsel for the MPPOA , sent a letter to Walz, saying they are concerned the meeting created a conflict of interest since Walz oversees the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, and the Department of Public Safety, which encompasses the State Patrol.
“While we understand the family is grieving his death, there are legitimate concerns regarding your involvement, and now relationship and affiliation, that could affect a fair and impartial investigation and potential legal charging decision in this incident,” the letter states.
Body camera footage of the incident shows Cobb repeatedly asking a trooper why he needed to get out of his car. When the troopers tried to remove him from his vehicle, Cobb moved his arm in the direction of the gear shift, and the trooper on the passenger side shot him multiple times in the abdomen.
Cobb drove off, and he later died.
Cobb’s family last week called on the State Patrol to fire all three troopers and said they should be charged.
The BCA identified the State Patrol trooper who shot Cobb as Ryan Londregan; the trooper who was trying to get Cobb to exit the car as Brett Seide; and a third trooper on the scene as Garrett Erickson. All three had less than three years of experience in law enforcement.
The MPPOA, which is the state’s largest police group, said in its letter that since the meeting between Walz and the Cobb family was private, Walz could have made “unknown assurances” and undermined the rule of law and the rights of law enforcement officers.
A spokesperson for Walz did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.
The MPPOA letter made no mention of whether BCA officials face their own conflict-of-interest, given that they’re investigating an incident involving their fellow employees within the Department of Public Safety.
After the BCA finishes its investigation into the shooting, their findings will be sent to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the shooting was justified or if the troopers will be charged.
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