Late Tuesday night, Minneapolis police were chasing after a carjacking suspect. The suspect got away and an innocent man was killed in a collision with a patrol car that was in pursuit. The police have yet to reveal the identity of the victim in the car crash, but family members, including Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed the killing of George Floyd last year, say the victim is Darnella’s uncle Leneal Frazier.
According to CBS Minnesota, Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder said that the officer in question “observed the suspect vehicle in that area, attempted to pull it over and the vehicle, instead of pulling over, fled,” and that police pursued the vehicle for eight blocks. Besides Frazier, a second driver was also involved in the collision. Fortunately, that person survived.
The squad was going north on Lyndale following the suspect. The driver who died was driving westbound on 41st and the driver of a second car that was going southbound on Lyndale was also struck and slightly injured.
The driver of the second car was treated at a local hospital and is now recovering at home. His wife told WCCO he wasn’t up to speaking, but that his car is totaled and he feels lucky to be alive.
Minneapolis police say the suspect got away. Neighbors are stunned.
“It is very unfortunate that it was an innocent bystander,” Ambra Horne said. “I know the police, they have to do what they have to do. I also believe they should be mindful of cars and pedestrians around.”
Of course, no one is as stunned and devastated by the incident as the family members of the deceased.
“MINNEAPOLIS police killed my uncle. MY uncle,” Darnella wrote in a Facebook post. “Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!” She also said that she woke up to the news and was in disbelief and “broke down in tears” hoping it was all just a bad dream.
Frazier’s sister, Cheryl Frazier, told CBS that her brother was a father of five who “was a very good person, he would help you if you needed help, he’ll give you the shirt off his back if he had to. He was always that type of person.”
In her Facebook post, Darnella questioned why police officers would engage in a high-speed chase in a residential area, and it’s a good question seeing as the pursuit arguably went against police protocol.
CBS noted that Minneapolis police pursuit policy states that officers are not to chase after a fleeing vehicle if there is “an unreasonable risk to the officer, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued.” Police can only begin a pursuit if they believe “a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor” has been committed or is about to be committed by the suspect.
NBC News reports that Minneapolis police said in a statement that the suspect officers were pursuing was alleged to have been involved in multiple robberies. The statement also said that the Minnesota State Patrol will conduct a full investigation into the crash.