MPD kills another Black Man during high-speed chase
Community Groups demands officer Brian Cummings is fired immediately and that MPD follows its own policy to end these high-risk pursuits
July 9, 2021
At around 12:30 AM on July 6th, Leneal Frazier, a Black man, was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) during a high-speed chase. Frazier was an innocent bystander who was not involved in the police pursuit. Frazier was a father and the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who courageously filmed the murder of George Floyd. The trauma and pain that Darnella and her family have been forced to experience is unimaginable.
The dangerous, high-speed chase that resulted in Frazier’s death should have never happened. In 2019, MPD revised its pursuit policy to state that police may no longer initiate a pursuit or must terminate a pursuit in progress if it “poses an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued who may be unwilling participants.” Clearly this chase posed an unreasonable risk to the public since a Black man’s life was stolen in the process. We demand that MPD follow its own policy and put an immediate end to these dangerous high-speed pursuits.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In October, 2020, three Black teenagers were killed during a similar high-speed police pursuit. There was seemingly no accountability for the tragic deaths of these children.
When officers are not held accountable for their actions, it sends a signal that their behavior is acceptable, even when their actions lead to unnecessary fatalities. Brian Cummings, the officer who recklessly crashed his squad car into Leneal Frazier’s vehicle, has a long record of complaints with no discipline. This is eerily reminiscent of Derek Chauvin’s long track record of misconduct and abuse of civilians, with little to no discipline by MPD. One database indicates 11 complaints have been filed against Cummings and three separate lawsuits. One lawsuit, settled by the city of Minneapolis, alleged that Mr. Cummings used excessive force when tasing someone on a mental health call.
“Yet again, another Black man is killed by MPD. Whether it is with their vehicle, knee or gun, Black people are not safe from the violence of those who are supposed to protect and serve”, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. She continued, “Our prayers are with the Frazier family as they have to endure compounding traumas inflicted on their family by MPD.”
“When will Mayor Jacob Frey take decisive action to end the violence of MPD?,” said Billie Jean Van Knight from the Racial Justice Network. The miniscule changes that Mayor Jacob Frey has put forward have not stopped police violence. The Mayor must go beyond catchphrases, platitudes and minor tweaks to our system of policing. Instead of fixing this system which routinely fails, underserves and abuses Black residents, he has continuously asked for more funding for police, which does not solve these problems.”
We are demanding that Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Arradondo fire Brian Cummings immediately for unjustifiably killing Leneal Frazier. Cummings also needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for recklessly using his car as a weapon on a residential street. Finally, we demand a complete and thorough review of all MPD policies related to high-speed pursuits.
The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. https://racialjusticenetwork.com/