A Minneapolis police officer has been charged in a car crash that led to the death of the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed the murder of George Floyd. Officer Brian Cummings was chasing after a carjacking and robbery suspect in July when his police vehicle collided with another car which was not being pursued by the police. The driver in that car was Darnella Frazier’s uncle Leneal Frazier, who died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Cummings was driving nearly 80 mph, with his siren and lights activated, when the crash occurred, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Newsweek reported. He reportedly drove through residential neighborhoods that had posted speed limits of 25 mph.
According to an accident reconstruction report cited by Newsweek, the crash “can be attributed to the Defendant for failure to operate his vehicle with due regard for the safety of other motorists.”
Freeman said: “Police are supposed to protect and serve citizens, and to act in a manner consistent with their sworn oath to do so. Officer Cummings’ actions deviated from his oath and his negligence caused the death of Leneal Frazier.”
Cummings faces charges of manslaughter and vehicular homicide, according to the Associated Press.
In July, Darnella Frazier wrote on Facebook that her uncle had been killed in a crash involving a police squad car in Minneapolis.
“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.”
“We went to the spot he was killed at and put beautiful flowers and candles, but even thats not enough to bring him back,” she said. “It’s not fair how the police can just go around killing people…WHY ARE YOU DOING A HIGH SPEED CHASE ON A RESIDENTIAL RODE??? you took an innocent life trying to catch someone else… I don’t know how to feel.”
Darnella Frazier’s family, who called for Cummings to be prosecuted in the death of Leneal Frazier, have said they are grateful for the charges brought against Cummings.
“We commend the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for having the courage to hold law enforcement accountable in this instance,” their lawyers, Ben Crump and Jeff Storms, said in a statement. “No innocent civilian should ever lose their life because of unwarranted high-speed chases in residential neighborhoods.”
Both charges against Cummings carry a presumptive prison sentence of four years under state sentencing guidelines, the Associated Press reported.
Frazier in May 2020 filmed the whole process of Floyd’s arrest and how he was pinned to the ground at the neck by ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s knee. Then 17, her video inspired a global outrage against the killing of Floyd in the streets of Minnesota. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize special citation for her video.