The family of Ricky Cobb II is suing two Minnesota State Patrol troopers involved in his fatal shooting last summer during a traffic stop in Minneapolis.

At a news conference surrounded by attorneys and activists, Cobb's parents, siblings and the mothers of his children made the civil litigation official, though they had made clear early on that civil action was looming. Allegations outlined in the federal lawsuit accuse the troopers of violating Cobb's civil rights through unreasonable seizure and excessive use of force resulting in Cobb's death July 31 on Interstate 94 in north Minneapolis.

Trooper Ryan Londregan shot Cobb and is facing criminal charges of murder, manslaughter and assault in Hennepin County District Court. The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota names Londregan and trooper Brett Seide as defendants. Londregan's attorney, Chris Madel, argues that Londregan used deadly force to protect himself and Seide.

"We've seen everybody in this city act like Ricky Cobb II is not the victim in this case," said national civil rights attorney Bakari Sellers. "People have treated this officer like he is the victim in this case. And so we're here today to say that Ricky Cobb II lost his life, but he should be here today ... We will not let you vilify him. We will not let you punish him in his death."

Sellers, of South Carolina, Harry Daniels, of Georgia, and F. Clayton Tyler, of Minnesota, jointly filed the lawsuit two months after sending a letter to the state seeking $25 million for Cobb's death.

The lawsuit accuses troopers of unreasonably seizing Cobb by ordering him out of his vehicle but refusing to explain whether he was under arrest or why he was being detained. It claims the force used in the seizure was excessive, unjustifiable and unlawful.

After Cobb was stopped for driving without taillights, troopers learned that he had been accused of violating a domestic order for protection. The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office issued a 72-hour request for agencies to pick up and hold Cobb. The request, which is not a warrant but grants probable cause to detain, was set to expire later that morning. The order for protection was filed by one of the mothers of Cobb's young children.

The lawsuit alleges that the troopers did not attempt to de-escalate the situation, and that they didn't have reasonable suspicion that Cobb was armed or posed any threat of harm.

A gun was found on the floor behind the center console of Cobb's vehicle, but the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has maintained that Cobb was never holding a gun. Troopers never made reference to seeing a gun in Cobb's vehicle, according to dash and body-cam video.

Cobb's hands were in the air in full view of the troopers in the moments leading up to the shooting, the lawsuit says. His hands weren't touching the steering wheel or gear shift until Londregan reached inside the front passenger window to unlock the door. As he opened the door, Cobb put his foot on the brake and moved his hands to the shifter and put the vehicle into drive, removing his foot from the brake. Cobb's vehicle moved forward several feet while Seide, on the drivers side, leaned in to unsecure Cobb's seatbelt. Cobb stepped on the brake and Londregan drew his firearm, pointing it at Cobb.

Londregan leaned his torso inside, gun drawn, and yelled at Cobb to get out. Seide grabbed at Cobb, who took his foot off the brake again, causing the vehicle to lurch forward, according to the lawsuit. Londregan fired and Cobb's vehicle proceeded down the interstate for one-quarter of a mile until it crashed into a concrete median, the suit says.

As a direct result of the troopers' wrongful acts and omissions, the suit adds, Cobb's family suffered financial losses in an amount to be determined by a jury.

"At the time of this incident, Decedent Cobb was an unarmed man stopped for a minor traffic violation, had no outstanding warrants and was not threatening or acting violently towards the officers on scene," the lawsuit says. "Nevertheless, Defendant Seide attempted to wrestle Decedent Cobb out of the vehicle and Defendant Londregan drew his firearm on Decedent Cobb and shot him almost immediately, even with Defendant Seide positioned in a leaning posture over Decedent Cobb in his front seat."

The case has generated intense scrutiny from law enforcement and some lawmakers, furthering political tensions over policing, reform and public safety in the state.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty charged Londregan despite use-of-force experts offering opinions that Londregan acted lawfully. In response, lawmakers have called for the case to be removed from Moriarty.

For a case to be removed from a duly elected county attorney, Gov. Tim Walz has to step in and assign it to Attorney General Keith Ellison. But Walz has made clear that he would only reassign a case if requested by Ellison, who has not done so. A spokesperson said in an email that the governor's position "has not changed – he will continue to monitor developments in the case and has not shut the door to reassigning it."

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA), a trade association that is paying Londregan's legal fees, sent another letter to Walz in recent weeks asking him to intervene. The latest request stems from more state patrol use-of-force experts concluding that Londregan followed his training.

"The Hennepin County Attorney's Office own hired expert found Trooper Londregan acted lawfully. Now we're hearing that State Patrol's own trainers, who Moriarty interviewed in and out of the grand jury, say he also acted lawfully. It's past time to reassign this case away from Moriarty to best serve a fair and honest judicial system," MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, GOP U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach along with Reps. Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber and Brad Finstad sent a letter to the House Republican Judiciary Committee requesting an investigation into Moriarty's alleged "abuse of power."

Sellers, a former state legislator, said he's disappointed in how politicized the case has become, but he has faith in Walz and has long admired Ellison. The MPPOA has said it would rather have Ellison oversee the prosecution than Moriarty.

"I'm a politician by nature but this ain't about politics to us," Sellers said. "This is about a young man who lost his life, a father."

The mothers of Cobb's five young sons spoke at the press conference, saying they have fatherless children who are greeted by an urn when they come home from school instead of their dad. Cobb's sister, Octavia Ruffin, said a song at school recently brought her son to tears because he said it made him think about his uncle Ricky.

"This isn't fair," Ruffin said. "Should no traffic stop end deadly ever."

Londregan makes his next court appearance April 29.