MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Patrol is now investigating a crash involving a Minneapolis police squad car, where an innocent man was killed.
It happened around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of 41st Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue. Police say the officer was chasing after a carjacking and robbery suspect at the time. The person police were chasing got away, and a man driving a different car was killed.
The officer involved in the crash was identified as Brian Cummings, according to an MPD case report made public Wednesday.
Family members told WCCO Tuesday that the victim is Leneal Frazier, a father of five who was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video of George Floyd’s death that was seen around the world.
On Wednesday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner officially identified the victim as 40-year-old Leneal Lamont Frazier of St. Paul. The report says Frazier died from multiple blunt force injuries.
On Facebook, Darnella Frazier posted a statement, calling the death of her uncle “the most horrible news.” She also posted a link to a GoFundMe page raising money for funeral expenses.
“Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!” Darnella Frazier wrote, adding: “Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss.”
Leneal Frazier’s sister, Cheryl Frazier, says they still aren’t sure what exactly happened, but the crash took the life of a good man.
“He was a very good person, he would help you if you needed help, he’ll give you the shirt off his back if he had to,” Frazier said. “He was always that type of person.”
Michael Ganzer was watching TV when he heard the collision.
“The whole house shook. It was just a big, loud bang,” he said.
The devastating crash was the result of a police pursuit that began eight blocks away when police spotted a carjacking and robbery suspect.
“An officer observed the suspect vehicle in that area, attempted to pull it over and the vehicle, instead of pulling over, fled,” Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder said.
Police pursued the vehicle for eight blocks.
The squad was going north on Lyndale following the suspect. The driver who died was driving westbound on 41st and the driver of a second car that was going southbound on Lyndale was also struck and slightly injured.
The driver of the second car was treated at a local hospital and is now recovering at home. His wife told WCCO he wasn’t up to speaking, but that his car is totaled and he feels lucky to be alive.
The officer was treated and released. The K-9 in the car did not suffer any injuries.
Minneapolis police say the suspect got away. Neighbors are stunned.
“It is very unfortunate that it was an innocent bystander,” Ambra Horne said. “I know the police, they have to do what they have to do. I also believe they should be mindful of cars and pedestrians around.”
Minneapolis police pursuit policy says there can be no pursuit when there is “an unreasonable risk to the officer, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued.” Police can begin a pursuit if they believe “a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor” has either been committed or about to be committed by the suspect.
The state patrol is not commenting on the investigation, and the Minneapolis Police Department is also investigating. MPD documents indicate that there is body camera, squad car, and surveillance footage of the crash.
The officer involved in the crash is on standard critical incident leave, according to the department.