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Minneapolis officer charged in pursuit that killed motorist

Associated Press

Minneapolis – A Minneapolis police officer has been charged with manslaughter and vehicular homicide in a fatal crash in July that occurred while the officer was pursuing a stolen vehicle, a prosecutor announced Friday.

Officer Brian Cummings was driving nearly 80 mph (129 kph) in Minneapolis with his siren and lights activated when his squad car slammed into a vehicle, killing 40-year-old Leneal Frazier.

In this July 7, 2021 file photo, Items rest at a memorial for Leneal Lamont Frazier, in Minneapolis, at the site of his death.

The chase continued for more than 20 blocks, including residential neighborhoods where the posted speed limit is 25 mph.

In the July 9, 2021 file photo, from left, Cheryl Frazier, sister of Leneal Frazier; Orlando Frazier, brother of Leneal; and Jamie Bradford,, daughter of Leneal, embrace one another during a news conference outside of City Hall in Minneapolis.

“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,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement.

Leaders of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Frazier was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, whose cellphone video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck was viewed worldwide and helped launch a global protest movement against racial injustice.

During Cummings’ chase, Frazier’s Jeep entered an intersection on a green light. According to investigators, the driver of the stolen vehicle narrowly missed Frazier’s Jeep before the squad car struck the vehicle on the driver’s side.

Specifically, Cummings faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide. An accident reconstruction report stated that “this collision can be attributed to the Defendant for failure to operate his vehicle with due regard for the safety of other motorists.”