The grieving family of an innocent motorist killed by a Minneapolis police officer while chasing a suspect has called for the officer to be fired and charged.
Leneal Frazier, 40, the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for filming police officer Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in May of last year, was fatally injured in a high-speed police pursuit of a suspected carjacker last week.
Police Officer Brian Cummings smashed his cruiser into Frazier’s Jeep while chasing another suspect, with the collision killing Frazier. The victim’s grieving family have now called on Cummings to be axed from his job and prosecuted over the collision.
Frazier’s relatives also plan to sue the city of Minneapolis over his death, attorney Jeff Storms said.
Storms is an associate of civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who negotiated a $27 million settlement for the Floyd family.
The grieving family of Leneal Frazier who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer while chasing a suspect has called for the officer to be fired and charged
‘It’s just so messed up,’ Orlando Frazier, Leneal Frazier’s brother, told reporters outside City Hall. ‘Like, my brother got took away from us for no reason at all, like we don’t even know the reason, we don’t really know what happened, we haven’t even seen my brother’s body.’
The family called on Governor Tim Walz to ask Attorney General Keith Ellison, who prosecuted the officers charged in the George Floyd case, to take over because they do not have confidence in Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Activists have accused Freeman of being reluctant to prosecute police officers in the deaths of Black people, ABC News reported.
The family is currently learning more facts about the fatal collision and looking at evidence before they proceed with a lawsuit, Storms told ABC News.
While Storms did not confirm what kind of suit the family plans of filing or what kind of damages they will seek, he said they will pursue legal action.
‘Will there be a lawsuit? You betcha,’ Storms said.
He added that the city would be wise to settle with the family than force them to go through a drawn-out lawsuit, ABC News reported.
‘The city of Minneapolis is going to ask itself, and has to ask itself, ‘What kind of precedent are we going to set now?’
Police said Cummings had his lights and siren activated during the high-speed pursuit of a suspect in a carjacking and several robberies, and that the suspect ran a red light just before Cummings crashed into Frazier’s vehicle in a residential neighborhood, ABC News reported.
Leneal Frazier, 40, (pictured) was fatally injured in a high-speed police pursuit of a suspected carjacker involving Minneapolis Police Officer Brian Cummings
The image above taken from surveillance footage shows Leneal Frazier’s Jeep (circled far right) drive into the intersection of 41st Avenue and Lyndale Avenue in north Minneapolis after midnight on Tuesday. The circled vehicle in the center is that of a carjacking suspect who is fleeing police. The circled image on the far left is a minivan that was damaged in the three-car wreck
On Thursday mayor Jacob Frey, who called the crash a ‘horrific tragedy,’ said the city will review its police pursuit policy.
Officer Cummings is currently on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol.
Frazier, who was not suspected of any crime, was driving westbound in his Jeep on West 41st Avenue in the Camden section of north Minneapolis just after midnight on Tuesday when a police car slammed into his vehicle at the intersection of Lyndale Avenue.
Frazier’s family was outraged that police would conduct a high-speed chase through a residential area.
‘This ain’t the freeway. Y’all ain’t cowboys, man,’ a relative of Frazier told WCCO-TV.
‘Y’all are supposed to protect and serve us.’
The relative, who only goes by the name Terry, added: ‘I understand you guys got a job to do, man, but this, bro.
‘These people live right here, man.’
‘My brother didn’t do this,’ Orlando Frazier, Leneal’s brother, said.
‘He didn’t crash into the police, the police crashed into him. Police killed him.’
Lanesha Frazier, Leneal’s daughter, said her father ‘didn’t deserve to get hit by no car.’
‘I am terrified of these police and they need to do something about it,’ she said.
‘This is not fair. This is not right. I didn’t expect this to be my father. We need justice.’
According to Minneapolis police, a squad car was driving north on Lyndale at high speed in pursuit of a carjacking suspect when Leneal Frazier’s SUV, which was driving westbound on 41st Avenue, entered the intersection of Lyndale and 41st
Frazier was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, (pictured) the teenager who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for filming police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd
Frazier’s niece Darnella expressed her grief about her uncle’s death in a Facebook post
Surveillance video emerged of the accident that showed the carjacking suspect blowing through the intersection at a high speed followed by a squad car driven by officer Cummings ramming into the driver’s side of Frazier’s Jeep.
The violent collision sends the cop car and the mangled SUV careening into a nearby bus stop, destroying the canopy.
Moments later, first responders are seen pulling a badly injured Frazier out of the wreckage. He is then rushed to a nearby hospital, where he is pronounced dead.
A medical examiner’s report indicated that Leneal Frazier died of blunt force injuries, according to WCCO-TV.
His niece Darnella expressed her grief about her uncle’s death in a Facebook post.
‘Minneapolis police killed my uncle,’ she posted on Tuesday.
‘Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!’
She added: ‘Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss…today has been a day full of heartbreak and sadness.’
In June 2019, MPD updated its pursuit policy, which now bans officers from initiating chases if they ‘pose an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued who may be unwilling participants.’
MPD officers may initiate a pursuit if they believe a suspect either has committed or is about to commit ‘a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor.’
Officers can also give chase if they believe the suspect’s driving is ‘so flagrantly reckless that the driver would pose an imminent and life-threatening danger to the public if not apprehended.’
John Elder, a spokesperson for the MPD, told the Star Tribune that Tuesday morning’s pursuit ‘fit the criteria’ spelled out in the department’s updated policy.
‘We are limiting what we can chase for, but these were obvious felonies,’ Elder said.