Minneapolis Police Officer Involved in Car Crash That Killed Darnella Frazier’s Uncle is Charged With Manslaughter and Homicide

A vigil for Leneal Frazier

Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings is facing two felony charges after his squad car hit another car, killing its driver, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Friday. The driver, Leneal Frazier, was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who won a special Pulitzer prize for filming the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

“Police are supposed to protect and serve citizens, and to act in a manner consistent with their sworn oath to do so,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “Officer Cummings’ actions deviated from his oath and his negligence caused the death of Leneal Frazier.”

While on duty on July 6, Cummings pursued a stolen vehicle whose driver was suspected of various thefts, officials said. The officer, who joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2008, was going 90 miles per hour in an area with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour when his squad car collided with a car that was driving through a green light and was not involved in the chase. The driver, later identified as Frazier, was killed.

Surveillance video obtained by CBS Minnesota showed the moment when Frazier’s car was hit in the middle of the intersection. The momentum pushes both his car and the squad car into a third stopped vehicle nearby and ignited the cars in flames. The traffic light at the intersection did not appear to have Opticon technology, which allows police and first responders to switch light signals in emergency situations, CBS Minnesota reported.

Cummings has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide.

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SOURCE: CBS News, Tori B. Powell