As the United States Supreme Court stated in Graham v. Connor: The decision to use force "requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case.”
The dashcam and bodycam videos that the Minnesota State Patrol released of their fatal shooting of Ricky Cobb II fall far short of the transparency and the information the public deserves following a death at the hands of law enforcement.
The videos show Mr. Cobb with his hands in clear view of troopers as he calmly asks them why he was pulled over, then if there was a warrant, and finally for an attorney.
The videos do not show why a trooper then shot Mr. Cobb, and certainly do not provide a clear justification for deadly force under Minnesota law. It does not appear from viewing the videos alone that the officer reasonably believed that Mr. Cobb had committed or attempted to commit a felony and would cause death or great bodily harm to another person.
The videos also do not show whether Mr. Cobb was shot while his car remained stationary, or if he was attempting to drive away. Notably, the U.S. Department of Justice bans its own law enforcement officers from using deadly force to solely prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect.
We renew our call for an independent, full, and transparent investigation. We remain concerned about an investigation by the BCA, as it's in the same department as the State Patrol.
Traffic stops should not be death sentences.