Family of bystander killed during Minneapolis police pursuit files lawsuit against the city

Published 5:42 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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MINNEAPOLIS — The family of a bystander killed during a 2021 police chase in Minneapolis is suing the city and alleging that dangerous pursuits are more common in areas of the city with predominantly Black residents.

Relatives of Leneal Frazier are seeking unspecified damages for the 2021 accident, the family’s law firm, Storms Dworak LLC, said in a news release Thursday.

Former Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings pleaded guilty last year to criminal vehicular homicide and was sentenced to nine months in the county workhouse. Prosecutors said Cummings was pursuing a suspected car thief when he ran a red light and hit a car driven by Frazier, 40, of St. Paul, who died at the scene.

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Cummings was driving nearly 80 mph (129 kph) in Minneapolis with his siren and lights activated when his squad car slammed into Frazier’s vehicle on July 6, 2021, officials have said. The crash ended a chase that lasted more than 20 blocks, including through residential neighborhoods where the posted speed limit was 25 mph (40 kph).

The lawsuit says dangerous police pursuits are “more likely to be initiated in and continued through neighborhoods with a disproportionately high number of Black residents compared to other Minneapolis neighborhoods with predominantly white residents.”

Messages were left Thursday with city spokespeople.

Frazier, a father of six children, was an uncle of Darnella Frazier, who shot the cellphone video of George Floyd’s death when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck in 2020.