Minneapolis, MN – The uncle of the teenager who filmed the now-notorious video of George Floyd’s death was killed on July 6 when his vehicle was struck by a Minneapolis police car that was chasing a robbery suspect.
The incident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. on July 6 at the intersection of 41st Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue, WCCO reported.
Police said officers were chasing a stolen vehicle that was connected to multiple robberies and carjackings when a police vehicle collided with two other vehicles in an intersection, The Washington Post reported.
“An officer observed the suspect vehicle in that area, attempted to pull it over and the vehicle, instead of pulling over, fled,” Minneapolis Police Spokesman John Elder said.
The chase went on for eight blocks north on Lyndale Avenue, WCCO reported.
The crash occurred when a police car hit two other vehicles that entered the intersection with 41st Avenue at the same time as the officer.
Leneal Lamont Frazier was killed in the crash, WCCO reported.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s report said Frazier died of multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the wreck.
The driver of the other vehicle survived with minor injuries, but his vehicle was totaled and his wife said he felt lucky to be alive.
The suspect that police were chasing got away, WCCO reported.
Officials identified the officer involved in the crash as Minneapolis Police Officer Brian Cummings.
Officer Cummings was treated at the hospital for injuries and released, WCCO reported.
The police K9 who was in Officer Cummings’ vehicle was not injured in the crash.
Family members identified Frazier as the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed Floyd’s death as he was being arrested by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, WCCO reported.
Darnella took to Facebook to call her uncle’s death “the most horrible news” and cast blame on police before the investigation has been completed.
“MINNEAPOLIS police Killed my uncle. … Another Black man lost his life in the hands of the police!” she wrote. “Minneapolis police [have] cost my whole family a big loss … today has been a day full of heartbreak and sadness.”
Frazier’s sister, Cheryl Frazier, said the family didn’t yet know what had happened, WCCO reported.
“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,” Cheryl said. “He was always that type of person.”
A witness who lived nearby the crash site said he heard the collision, WCCO reported.
“The whole house shook. It was just a big, loud bang,” Michael Ganzer said.
Neighbors were stunned, WCCO reported.
“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 policy says an officer cannot pursue a vehicle if there is “an unreasonable risk to the officer, the public, or passengers of the vehicle being pursued,” WCCO reported.
However, police can initiate a pursuit if they think “a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor” has been committed or is about to be committed by the suspect.
The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) is heading up the investigation into the crash, The Washington Post reported.
MSP will also investigate whether Officer Cummings followed policy and had his lights and sirens activated as he pursued the suspect vehicle.
“When completed, the State Patrol [will] turn its findings over to the county attorney for review,” Minnesota Department of Public Safety Spokesman Bruce Gordon told The Washington Post.
Minneapolis police have said there is bodycam, dashcam, and surveillance video of the wreck.
The police department said that Officer Cummings has been placed on standard critical incident leave, WCCO reported.