Darnella Frazier identifies her uncle Leneal Frazier as innocent man killed during police car chase

Courtesy of Facebook/Darnella Frazier Leneal Frazier

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, has identified her uncle, Leneal Lamont Frazier, Sr., as the innocent man killed Tuesday morning after a police car chase that he was not involved in.

Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) spokesman John Elder stated that an officer was in pursuit of a carjacking suspect when the collision occurred. The crash took place at Lyndale Ave N. at 41st Avenue N. in Minneapolis. A police squad car reportedly struck Leneal Frazier, a father of five, who later died of multiple blunt force injuries at North Memorial Hospital, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was 40 years old.

The officer involved, identified as Officer Brian Cummings, and another driver who was struck, are reportedly expected to survive.  The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash.

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MPD police car pursuit policy states that “officers shall not initiate a pursuit or shall terminate a pursuit in progress if the pursuit poses an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public…” and that officers should “always be aware of the inherent danger to the public and to themselves in vehicle pursuits or emergency responses.” The policy also states that police car chases should not be initiated unless “the officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe the suspect has committed a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor.”

Darnella Frazier shared her grief and shock over the loss of her uncle in a Facebook post on Tuesday night. She wrote, “I honestly can’t believe I’m making this post right now…I’m so hurt…nothing feels real. I woke up to the most horrible news… MY uncle… Another Black man lost his life in the hands of the police! … You took an innocent man’s life trying to catch someone else,” read parts of her post.

On June 11, Darnella Frazier was awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize for her recording of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, fatal arrest. Her video helped spark a global movement against police violence and was used as key evidence to convict former MPD officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter. On June 25, Chauvin was sentenced to serve 22.5 years in prison—the longest sentence for a police officer in state history.

Darnella shared a link to a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of her uncle Leneal Frazier’s funeral. 

The MSR will continue to update this story as it develops.