Hennepin County Attorney’s credibility questioned, yet again, in the case of Trooper Londregan

On July 31 at 2 a.m. on I-94 in North Minneapolis, three Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) troopers attempted to arrest Ricky Cobb II for a felony domestic abuse no contact order violation issued out of Ramsey County. Instead of complying with the Trooper’s commands to exit the vehicle, Cobb, who was a felon and knew he was armed with a handgun, refused to cooperate or exit the car. 

The troopers were forced to open the car doors and attempt to physically remove Cobb. Trooper Ryan Londregan positioned himself on the passenger side of the car and provided armed cover for the arresting trooper. Both troopers were partially in Cobb’s car when Cobb put the car in gear and began driving away, throwing both troopers onto the busy freeway. Each received minor injuries, but the possibility of being severely injured or killed was real, as both troopers easily could have been run over by Cobb’s car or by a passing vehicle because of Cobb’s decision to speed off.

It was at the moment Cobb put the car in gear and began driving away that Trooper Londregan fired two shots at Cobb in an attempt to prevent him from injuring the troopers by driving off with them partially in the car.

Six months later, after hiring a police use of force expert, and after interviewing and compelling Grand Jury testimony from three MSP troopers who had trained Trooper Londregan, Moriarty decided to charge Trooper Londregan with 2nd Degree Murder, 1st Degree Assault, and 2nd Degree Manslaughter.

In her statement announcing the charges, Moriarty was clear that her investigation had concluded that Trooper Londregan had failed to follow the training he had received from the MSP.

“A critical component of the work of the Minnesota State Patrol is engaging with drivers during motor vehicle stops. This is something that State Troopers do every day, and, as a result, they receive extensive training on how to do so safely and effectively. Trooper Londregan did not follow this training.”

Mary Moriarty, Hennepin County Attorney

Today we learned that all three of the troopers responsible for training Trooper Londregan, and who the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) had interviewed as part of their investigation, had clearly indicated to the HCAO that Trooper Londregan had acted in accordance with MSP training and had not violated MSP General Orders (policy) when he used deadly force against Cobb.

These revelations came in the form of three sworn declarations from MSP Sergeant Jason Halvorson, MSP Technical Sergeant (Retired) Troy Morrell, and Lt. Jonathan Wenzel. The three have nearly 65 years of law enforcement experience and were in charge of training completed by Trooper Londregan to include the cadet academy, use of force, and vehicular operation. 

The statement from Sgt. Halvorson, who was referred to in the criminal complaint against Trooper Londregan as “Trainer A” was particularly damning to the credibility of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Sgt. Halvorson said that the statements attributed to him during his interview and testimony were misleading and amounted to lies by “omission” by the person drafting the complaint (Mark Osler, Moriarty’s Criminal Chief). Halvorson stated that the complaint referred to two sentences he had made in a thirty-seven-page statement, and that those sentences were used out of context.

In March, we learned from a series of court filings that Moriarty had disregarded the preliminary findings of her own use of force expert who had reported to her and other prosecutors in October that he believed Trooper Londregan’s actions were justified. This expert was subsequently not used, despite Moriarty’s claim that the use of force expert would be a critical component to her charging decision.

As a result of these four witnesses directly contradicting the assertions made by the HCAO and Moriarty regarding Trooper Londregan’s actions, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) which represents nearly 10,000 Minnesota peace officers made a direct appeal to Governor Walz to use his authority to remove the case from Moriarty’s office and reassign it to an impartial prosecutor.

It is a dangerous and unjust world where an officer can follow policies, training, and act in accordance with the law and still be charged criminally. Based on the Hennepin County Attorney’s past statements about police and her ongoing public comments regarding Trooper Ryan’s case, it is clear the Hennepin County Attorney has an anti-law enforcement bias. With the rise of violence towards law enforcement increasing significantly, we simply can’t wait. We ask Governor Walz to act to provide fairness and equity in Hennepin County.”

MPPOA General Counsel Imran Ali

Governor Walz has declined to act on this request of the MPPOA thus far.

In separate, but related news, the Minnesota Republican Delegation in the US House of Representatives made a bold request today of the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings to investigate the actions of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office relevant to the prosecution of Trooper Londregan. The following release was reported by Alpha News: