Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd last year, has revealed that Minneapolis police killed her uncle, who was an innocent driver during a high-speed chase conducted under questionable circumstances.
It was the latest trauma the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has inflicted on the teenager whose recording of Floyd’s murder was the central piece of evidence that all but secured Chauvin’s conviction.
While police did not immediately identify the victim of the apparent collateral damage, Frazier said 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 was her uncle, Leneal Lamont Frazier.
“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, July 6, 2021, 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 Lamont Frazier and left a police officer with only minor injuries. Leneal Lamont 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 Tuesday night.
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]???”
Leneal Lamont Frazier’s daughter told local affiliate Fox 9 that her father was going to his girlfriend’s house when police struck his car and killed him.
“This is not fair, not right,” Lanesha Frazier said. “I didn’t expect that to be my father. I’m really grieving because all these police out here, they’re not watching what they’re doing… they need to watch what they’re doing, innocent people out here being hurt.”
Leneal Lamont Frazier died on the fifth anniversary of the police killing of Philando Castile, who was shot in nearby Falcon Heights.
Help Darnella Frazier’s family
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 early Wednesday morning, the online crowdfunding effort had raised more than $4,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Minneapolis police policy
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.
Bittersweet year for Darnella Frazier
Darnella Frazier is only a little more than three months removed from her dramatic testimony in Chauvin’s murder trial when she described the mental effect of witnessing the brutal police killing.
“There have been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” Darnella Frazier testified in late March. “But it’s like not what I should have done, it’s what [Chauvin] should have done.”
Underscoring the trauma that MPD has inflicted on her family, Darnelle Frazier’s 9-year-old cousin was with her while she was recording Chauvin murder Floyd.
Darnella Frazier’s heroic deed filming the murder and testifying at the trial was officially recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Board, which announced last month the teenager would receive a special citation “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”