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What led up to State Patrol shooting of Ricky Cobb?

Troopers were attempting to arrest Cobb on a "probable cause hold/pickup" on behalf of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, which is similar to a warrant.

MINNEAPOLIS — The first thing the Minnesota State Troopers are heard discussing on the body camera video is that Ramsey County Sheriff's Office wants them to arrest Ricky Cobb.

Police reports and court records show Cobb had an active order for protection against him in Ramsey County from the mother of two of his children, and he was on supervised probation in Anoka County for domestic abuse.

Troopers approach to attempt what's called a "probable cause hold"  or "pickup" for violating the domestic abuse order for protection in an incident reported July 26.

Twin Cities attorney Paul Applebaum says that authorized the troopers to arrest Cobb.

"Yes, virtually anywhere, particularly on a public road. There is no obstacle for them to make an arrest in a public setting like that," Applebaum said.

Applebaum is an attorney on the criminal and civil sides who has both represented police and sued the police. He says the way the troopers conducted themselves prior to the use of force appears to be legal, including opening Cobb's car door and attempting to unbuckle his seatbelt.

"For an arrest, absolutely. That probable cause for the arrest is what gives them the authority to open the door, to take this person into custody using reasonable force to do so," Applebaum said.

But Applebaum says the use of force itself will be highly debated.

The situation escalated when Cobb put the car into drive. The trooper closest to him reached into his car, appearing to try to unbuckle his seatbelt and the trooper on the passenger side pulled his gun.

"You can't choose where your partners are when you determine you're going to use your gun but what you can determine is whether you're going to pull the trigger," Applebaum said.

Questions that come to mind for Applebaum are:

  • Was it an overreaction to pull the gun?
  • Was it necessary to fire?
  • And was it reckless to shoot with his partner so close?

At the same time, Applebaum points out it all happens in a matter of seconds, the driver's side trooper is dangling from the moving car, and we have the benefit of hindsight when dissecting it frame by frame.

"There are very strong counterbalancing factors in this case, so it's tough," he said.


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