Legal experts weigh in on footage of state trooper shooting Ricky Cobb II

Reaction to I-94 incident body cam video

Reaction to I-94 incident body cam video

Law enforcement on Tuesday released body camera footage of the fatal shooting on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis where a state trooper killed a suspect. It took less than two days before the public could see the video, which legal experts say is uncommon. 

At several points in the footage, troopers are heard asking 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II to step out and turn over his keys. Cobb continues to question why but did not get a definitive answer.

Defense attorney Allen Al-Zouhayli with Ram Law says officers do not need to provide a reason for asking a person to step out of a car. They do, however, need reasonable suspicion to pull over drivers but if the officer observes a violation of the law then that is probable cause. He adds officers are required to tell drivers why they have been pulled over. 

“If the officer pulls somebody over, they should comply with what the officer is directing them to do,” Al-Zouhayli said. “They can also order all the passengers in the vehicle to step out of the vehicle. And that’s for officer safety.”

In the video, as troopers try to remove Cobb, the car pulls away and a dash camera picks up the sound of gunshots. The Minnesota State Patrol says the trooper on the passenger side shot Cobb. 

Legal expert Mike Bryant with Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC says because the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert for Cobb’s felony violation, it gave probable cause for troopers to expand the scope. 

“Then after he takes off, they actually run back and they asked for permission to pursue. They don’t just go right into pursuit of the car,” Bryant said. 

When asked if Bryant thought troopers were justified in their use of lethal force, he said, “It looks like they had justification. There was a danger created that was heightened versus some of the other cases.”

Seeing that Cobb did not comply, Al-Zouhayli explains that discretion is typically left to law enforcement. 

“I suspect that that’s what the officer is going to argue and that’s what they’re probably going to state to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension,” Al-Zouhayli said. 

Meanwhile, activists and Cobb’s family and friends are calling the actions of the troopers “reckless.” They are demanding the troopers get fired and charged. On Wednesday, they gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center calling for accountability.

“I would like those officers to man up, and let’s bring justice forth,” said Nyra Fields-Miller, Cobb’s mother. 

Gov. Tim Walz says he has talked to Cobb’s family. He’s promising to get to the bottom of what happened as this investigation continues.