On Monday, Minnesota State Patrol troopers shot and killed Ricky Cobb II, a 33-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis. The Minnesota State Patrol said troopers pulled Cobb over for driving without taillights, then tried to arrest him for a protection order violation before fatally shooting him. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension should conduct a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation as this shooting tragically highlights that police violence continues to be a crisis in Minnesota and additional action is needed to save lives.
Police violence and gun violence are inextricably linked – both continue to disproportionately kill Black people in the U.S. In an average year in America, police fatally shoot over 1,000 people. Black people are victims of police gun violence at a disproportionate rate. Black people are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and according to Mapping Police Violence, Black people are over four times as likely to be killed by police as white people in Minnesota.
Police violence is gun violence, and in order to prevent future tragedies, it is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that abusive officers can be held accountable.
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
In an average year, 497 people die and 811 are wounded by guns in Minnesota. Gun violence in Minnesota costs $1,174 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Minnesota $6.6 billion each year, of which $105.5 million is paid by taxpayers
More information about gun violence in Minnesota is available here.