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Police Target Minnesota Prosecutor For Charges Against State Trooper

Two unions representing police and state troopers in Minnesota wrote a letter to Gov. Tim Walz this month. An elected prosecutor in Minneapolis' Hennepin County was prosecuting one of their own, and they wanted her removed from the case immediately. Four Republican members of Congress from Minnesota followed up in another letter to Walz expressing “outrage” in the same case. “It is time for us as a nation to stop demonizing law enforcement,” they wrote. They called for an investigation into Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty. Rep. Michelle Fischbach has called on Moriarty to resign. Minnesota Republican state lawmakers called on Moriarty to resign and drop charges against the state trooper. Lawmakers accused her of coddling criminals and targeting police in “politically-motivated prosecution,” The Intercept reports.


The controversy erupted around the prosecution of a state trooper who shot and killed 33-year-old Ricky Cobb II, a Black man, during a traffic stop in July. Moriarty said the trooper’s use of deadly force against Cobb was not justified. The pressure campaign against the prosecution may be working. Asked about the case during a press conference, Walz, a Democrat, questioned Moriarty’s handling of the charges and criticized her assessment of the use of force. Walz has not said whether Moriarty will be removed from the case. The attacks like those on Moriarty are not unique to Minnesota. She is among a group of reform-minded prosecutors who started winning elections in recent years. Constituents were increasingly casting their ballots for criminal justice reformers who ran on prosecuting police for misconduct and killing of civilians, ending cash bail, and curtailing the prosecution of nonviolent offenses. In response, opponents of the reform push have been more and more explicit about why they want to remove elected attorneys like Moriarty: They’re prosecuting the police. “It’s clear this is not about safety,” said Jessica Brand of the Wren Collective, a progressive consulting firm that works with several reform prosecutors. “It’s about power — they don’t want prosecutors in office who will hold them accountable when they abuse their power. That’s the theme that is running through the backlash in every state.”

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