Wednesday, racial justice organizations and relatives of a Black man shot and killed by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper this week demanded that the governor fire three officers involved in the man’s stop on a Minneapolis expressway.
Two days after his death during a traffic stop, the groups and relatives of 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II made the demands at a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Black Cobb was stopped for a traffic violation early Monday morning on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis. The taillights on Cobb’s Ford Fusion were out, as evidenced by body and dash cam footage from the state patrol.
According to the director of the Minnesota State Patrol, after stopping the vehicle and attempting to arrest Cobb for allegedly violating a restraining order, the troopers fatally shot him as he attempted to flee.
Cobb’s relatives and members of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, The Racial Justice Network, and Black Lives Matter Minnesota congregated at the government center to demand that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz fire the state troopers involved in Cobb’s death and that Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty charge the officers and issue an arrest warrant.
“The circumstances did not necessitate the use of lethal force. In the statement, Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network, said that the officers must be held accountable for their actions.
Nyra Fields-Miller, the mother of Cobb, described the suffering she has endured since her son’s demise.
“I’m worn out. My heart has been burdened for the past three days on a daily basis. I awaken with vertigo. And I’m wounded,” said Fields-Miller. “I would like for those officers to man up.”
Governor Silent on Trooper Dismissal Demand; Vows Swift Investigation
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’s request for comment regarding the family’s demand that Walz dismiss the troopers.
However, Walz stated earlier on Wednesday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he had offered his condolences to Cobb’s mother and “assured her that a swift, thorough investigation has already begun and that we will do everything possible to find out what happened.”
The troopers who verified Cobb’s license on Monday discovered what Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer termed a “pick up and hold” on Cobb, which meant the nearby Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office suspected he violated a protection order and wanted to interrogate him.
Langer stated that authorities checked to see if Ramsey County deputies still wanted Cobb in custody before attempting to convince him to exit the vehicle. Body and dashboard camera footage reveals that when troopers opened his doors and attempted to drag him out, Cobb began driving with two troopers still dangling out the sides of the vehicle. A trooper then fired him as he fled in his vehicle.
The coroner of Hennepin County declared Cobb’s death a homicide due to multiple firearm wounds. Investigating is the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Per State Patrol policy, three employees have been placed on administrative absence.
Tuesday, Moriarty stated in a statement that her “heart goes out to Mr. Cobb’s family.” She mentioned previous police-related fatalities. “I am also aware that this community continues to deal with the trauma and grief caused by police violence and the tragic loss of community members at the hands of law enforcement,” she said. “And I am aware that our community is seeking answers. We will work as quickly as possible to get them to you.”
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020 ignited a global protest movement and a national reckoning with racism in policing.