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

Response to I-94 incident body cam video

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

In several places in the footage, soldiers are heard asking 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II to step out and turn over his keys. Cobb continues to question why, but was not given a definitive answer.

Defense attorney Allen Al-Zouhayli with Ram Law says officers don’t have to give a reason to ask a person to get out of a car. However, they need probable cause to stop drivers and are required to tell drivers why they have been stopped.

“If the officer pulls someone over, they must comply with what the officer orders them to do,” Al-Zouhayli said. “They can also order all the occupants of the vehicle to step out of the vehicle. And that’s for the officer’s safety.”

In the video, as troopers try to remove Cobb, the car pulls away and a dashboard 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 that because the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning for Cobb’s felony violation, it gave troopers probable cause to widen the scope.

“So after he’s relieved, they actually run back and they asked for permission to pursue. They don’t just go straight into chasing the car,” Bryant said.

Asked if he believed the troopers were justified in their use of deadly force, Bryant said: “It appears they were justified. A danger was created that was heightened compared to some of the others cases.”

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

“I suspect that’s what the officer will argue and that’s what they’ll probably say to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension,” Al-Zouhayli said.

Meanwhile, activists and Cobb’s family and friends are calling the soldiers’ actions “reckless.” They demand that the troops be fired and charged. On Wednesday, they gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center and called for accountability.

“I want the cops to man up and let’s bring justice,” said Nyra Fields-Miller, Cobb’s mother.

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

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