The family of Leneal Frazier, a driver in Minneapolis who died after sustaining injuries from a police pursuit he wasn’t involved in, has retained renowned civil rights lawyer Ben Crump as they try to seek justice for their loss.
Frazier is the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd last year and “has now twice been directly impacted by lethal practices of the Minneapolis Police Department,” Crump said in a brief statement emailed to NewsOne Thursday morning.
Darnella Frazier identified her uncle the man who was inside a car that was hit by a police cruiser in pursuit of an alleged carjacking and robbery suspect early Tuesday morning.
“I honestly can’t believe I’m making this post right now…I’m so hurt…nothing feels real,” Darnella Frazier wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday night before adding: “Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!”
MPD spokesperson John Elder told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that three vehicles were involved in the crash that killed Leneal Frazier and left a police officer with only minor injuries. Leneal Frazier, a 40-year-old grandfather, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The suspect who the police were trying to apprehend ended up fleeing the scene and was still at large as of Thursday morning.
No information about the suspect has been released and it was unclear if there would be any charges or disciplinary action facing the officer or officers involved.
“Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss,” Darnella Frazier wrote in the Facebook post.
She later asked a question that police had yet to answer: “WHY ARE YOU DOING A HIGH SPEED CHASE ON A RESIDENTIAL RODE [sic]???”
Crump called the Minneapolis Police Department “irresponsible” for their role in Leneal Frazier’s death.
“Police pursuits should be rare and law enforcement should take the greatest of precautions to protect all involved, especially innocent drivers and bystanders,” Crump added. “The Frazier family and the Minneapolis community are mourning the loss of yet another Black life because of the irresponsible actions and failings of the Minneapolis Police Department.”
According to a model for how to proceed during high-speed chases, Minneapolis police are supposed to consider “the risk to the community created by the pursuit.” It also says “the officer’s decision to continue a pursuit may be overridden by a supervisor at any time.”
It was unclear what role, if any, a police supervisor played in the deadly pursuit.
Crump called for there to be some police “accountability” for Leneal Frazier’s death.
“We expect a timely and transparent investigation by the Minneapolis State Patrol,” Crump said. “The Frazier family deserves answers and accountability as they try to make sense of this terrible, and preventable tragedy.”
Meanwhile, mourners joined Leneal Frazier’s family at the crash site on Wednesday to commemorate his life.
Leneal Frazier’s sister told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the family was trying to remain positive.
“We’re gonna get through this,” Cheryl Frazier said.
A GoFundMe account has been started to help Leneal Lamont Frazier’s sister, Cheryl Frazier, pay for his funeral.
“Leneal was a family oriented person with a good heart, the biggest heart a person could ever have,” the GoFundMe says.” He would help anyone, anytime no matter the circumstances.He was the father of 6 children and 1 grandchild. He was the oldest of 5 siblings, so of course he was their protector. He loved his family and friends. He loves to cook and bbq, and to just spend as much time with his family as possible. He was one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.”
As of Thursday morning, the online crowdfunding effort had raised nearly $24,000 of its $100,000 goal.