Family remembers Leneal Frazier, man killed after Minneapolis squad car crashed into him
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A north Minneapolis community came together Wednesday to remember the life of a man killed during a police chase.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 40-year-old Leneal Frazier.
Police said he was crossing the intersection of Lyndale and 41st avenues around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when a squad car pursuing a carjacking suspect crashed into Frazier’s SUV.
The city identified the officer behind the wheel as Brian Cummings.
A Minneapolis Police spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that it appeared Cummings was following the city’s pursuit protocols when the crash happened.
"I can’t believe that this happened. I don’t even feel that it’s real right now," said Lanesha Frazier, the victim’s oldest daughter.
She said Leneal Frazier was a father of six with an outgoing personality and a caring heart.
Lanesha Frazier said her father was just a few blocks from home when he was killed.
A makeshift memorial has been growing at the site of the crash, with loved ones leaving flowers and candles.
"It breaks me down to see that he’s gone," Lanesha Frazier said. "It wasn’t his time. I’m just lost."
The victim is also the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the death of George Floyd last year.
She posted on Facebook, criticizing the police pursuit, saying in part: "Why are you doing a high-speed chase on a residential road? You took an innocent life trying to catch someone else."
Family members gathered near the memorial site Wednesday, including the mother of Leneal Frazier’s 8-month-old son, Da’vion.
"It really hurts. I’ve been crying all day, all morning," Patricia Johnson said. "I can’t even cry no more. I’m hurt. He didn’t deserve this."
Other family members expressed outrage over the tragic loss and hope to see changes in police pursuit policies moving forward.
"I believe it’s an accident, I do believe that part, but it’s stupid. You cannot make those kind of mistakes!" said Terry Jackson, the victim’s cousin.
The Minnesota State Patrol has taken over the investigation into the crash. When completed, the department said it will turn its findings over to the county attorney for review.
On Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued the following statement:
"The loss of Leneal Frazier as the result of an MPD pursuit is a horrific tragedy. Period. Darnella, Leneal’s family, and Minneapolis’ Black community have borne the weight of more trauma over the last year than anyone, let alone any young person, should be expected to endure in a lifetime.
"The State is handling the investigation, and our local government will be cooperating fully to help ensure a transparent process. We updated the department’s pursuit policy in 2019 to make it far more restrictive and will again be reviewing the that policy, independent of the investigation.
"The violence our city is experiencing is a public health crisis, and we will continue our work to treat it as such — that means both just and equitable law enforcement and safety solutions beyond policing."