Minneapolis preps for protests after uncle of teen who filmed George Floyd’s death killed in crash with police

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The uncle of the teen who filmed George Floyd’s death was reportedly killed in a crash involving a Minneapolis Police squad car whose officer was pursuing a carjacking and robbery suspect.

Shortly after midnight on July 6th, Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder said an officer located a vehicle believed to be involved in a carjacking and robbery and tried pulling the driver over:

“An officer observed the suspect vehicle in that area, attempted to pull it over and the vehicle, instead of pulling over, fled.”

The pursuit of the suspect vehicle ran for about eight blocks, until the MPD unit crashed at the intersection of 41st Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue North in Minneapolis, striking two uninvolved vehicles at the intersection.

Officials say that the MPD officer, identified as Officer Brian Cummings, was driving northbound on Lyndale Avenue and collided with 40-year-old Leneal Lamont Frazier’s vehicle that was driving westbound on 41st Avenue, which the MPD unit also collided with a unidentified driver headed southbound on Lyndale Avenue.

The impact of the collision killed Frazier.

Both Officer Cummings and the unidentified driver of the second vehicle were treated at an area hospital and have since been released. The wife of the other driver injured told news crews that her husband didn’t want to discuss the accident but said that he feels lucky to be alive.

The carjacking suspect that was being pursued got away, according to officials.

Officer Cummings has since been placed on standard critical incident leave, according to the MPD.

A statement released by the Minnesota State Patrol confirmed that they’re leading the investigation into the fatal crash, noting that once their investigation is complete then they’ll hand their findings over to the county attorney for review and determination of any next steps.

This case has managed to attract unique attention in Minneapolis, as Frazier is the uncle of the teen, Darnella Frazier, that filmed the death of George Floyd back in May of 2020.

Darnella took to Facebook to share a post regarding her uncle’s death, blaming Minneapolis Police for her uncle’s death and rhetorically asking why an MPD unit would be involved in high-speed chase within a residential neighborhood:

“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. MINNEAPOLIS police Killed my uncle. MY uncle… Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!”

In a second post from Darnella, she clarified that she isn’t claiming MPD killed her uncle on purpose, but that she’s frustrated over her uncle dying over what she believed to be an irresponsible high speed chase:

“I never said the police killed him on purpose. I said it was the police’s fault. I never said it had anything to do with race, because if this was a black cop, I’d feel the same way. I honestly don’t even know the race of the cop. I just know it was a police officer behind the wheel.”

“I also never said the suspect held zero responsibility, but the police made a bad decision by doing a high speed chase on a residential road. That bad decision cost my uncle his life.

The police car is the car that killed my uncle. Accident or not he’s gone. Everyone made it out alive, BUT my uncle. It hurts different because he had NOTHING to do with this. He was on his way home.

I have every right to feel the way I feel. My family as well. If it was you in my shoes, you would be doing the same.”

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In other reports regarding deadly crashes, a police officer in Connecticut died weeks after being hit by a suspected impaired driver back in late June. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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SOUTH WINDSOR, CT – A 25-year-old South Windsor Police officer passed away earlier in July from injuries sustained weeks earlier in a motorcycle crash that police say was caused by a suspected drunk driver.

South Windsor Police Officer Ben Lovett passed away on July 13th while he was at Hartford Hospital. Officials say that Officer Lovett sadly succumbed to injuries he sustained in a motorcycle crash that happened on June 26th while the officer was off-duty.

The June 26th crash happened at approximately 1:15 a.m. on the corner of Hunter and Crystal Lake Roads, where authorities say 24-year-old Spencer Kraus allegedly ran through a stop sign and struck the motorcycle that Officer Lovett was on.

A passenger who was on Officer Lovett’s motorcycle at the time, identified as 39-year-old Jennifer Marie Sokolik, was also injured in the crash. Her condition is not clear as of this writing, but she was reported as being also taken to Hartford Hospital following the crash.

Police officials say that Kraus was administered a field sobriety test following the crash, which the suspect failed.

Following the June crash, Kraus was charged with operating under the influence, evading responsibility in a serious physical injury, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, and failure to obey a stop sign.

Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew Gedansky stated on July 14th that, in light of Officer Lovett’s death, Kraus will be facing upgraded charges in the case and is scheduled to appear in court in the coming week regarding the officer’s passing.

A statement from the South Windsor Police Department noted that Officer Lovett was hired by the department in April of 2018 and showed promise immediately after completing his training at the Connecticut Police Academy in September of that same year:

“During the training and evaluation period, Officer Lovett demonstrated himself to be proactive, effective and a valuable team player. He was assigned as a patrol officer in the Operations Division where he excelled and grew as a new officer.”

During his time with the South Windsor Police Department, Officer Lovett had worked with the Criminal Investigations Bureau and the East Central Narcotics Task Force, where the department highlighted that his time with the task force proved that he was “a valuable asset to the team and continued to grow in his abilities.”

The South Windsor Police Department also shared the fallen officer’s numerous accolades and certifications he attained during his three years with the department:

“Officer Lovett has received numerous letters of appreciation from the public, he is the recipient of the 2020 Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognition award, he served as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) within our department, a certified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) member, and he held numerous investigation and narcotic training certificates.”

In a statement following Officer Lovett’s passing shared by the Wethersfield Police Department, the department expressed the frustration of the young officer losing his life from a “preventable” tragedy of impaired driving:

“As fellow police officers we grieve for Ben and are frustrated because this tragedy was entirely preventable. There is no excuse for drunk/drugged driving. This senseless act ruined the lives of countless people and took the life of a beloved son, brother, and police officer.”

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Back in June, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on another officer that was killed while off-duty that authorities say was struck by a driver while trying to help others involved in a separate crash. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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SEATTLE, WA – An off-duty Seattle Police officer was reportedly killed during the early morning hours of June 13th while assisting on the site of a multi-vehicle crash on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5.

Officials say that the officer was struck by a vehicle involved in a subsequent crash.

The slain officer has been identified as 38-year-old Officer Alexandra Brenneman Harris.

According to the Washington State Patrol, there was a multi-vehicle crash that occurred slightly before midnight near the Spokane Street on-ramp on the Interstate 5 South.

Reports indicate that as many as 10 vehicles were involved in the crash, causing severe backups along the interstate.

Calls then came in about a subsequent multi-vehicle crash that occurred at approximately 1:18 a.m. near Columbian along the backup caused by the first crash. Officer Harris had reportedly just finished up her shift and stopped to assist those involved in second the crash.

Officials say that after Officer Harris had stopped to render assistance, a yet-to-be named driver struck the officer, with the officer sadly died at the scene. Officials say that the driver who struck the officer remained at the scene and is cooperating with authorities.

However, a then-unknown suspect at the scene where Officer Harris was killed had stolen the officer’s personal vehicle. Police later found the fallen officer’s vehicle abandoned during the morning of June 13th.

On June 17th, investigators with Washington State Patrol said they arrested the suspect believed to have stolen Officer Harris’ vehicle

Washington State Patrol identified the suspect as 49-year-old Roger Lee Owens Jr. of Seattle, who was arrested after being found at a motel in the Eastgate area of Bellevue at 9:22 p.m. on June 17th. 

Owens was later charged with felony hit-and-run, theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm and identity theft.

It’s unclear as of this writing whether any criminal charges are being considered regarding the driver that allegedly struck Officer Harris, as the Washington State Patrol are still investigating the matter.

Brandi Kruse, host of the Q13 Fox program “The Divide with Brandi Kruse,” took to Twitter to share some of the kind words spoken by current and former Seattle Police officers regarding Officer Harris:

“She was a real life Wonder Woman,” said a former SPD officer who left the agency last year. “(She) exemplified what it meant to be a well-respected, driven, self-motivated, hard working, squared away human being.

“I was truly in awe of her motivation, dedication and ability to excel at damn near everything she did. As one of the very few female cops that I looked up to and aspired to be like, she naturally outperformed many of her male counterparts…

“…and was exactly who you’d want by your side and as your backup. It’s no surprise to hear that (she) selflessly put the safety of others before her own, but it is tragic and heartbreaking to know that she lost her life doing just that.

“(Her) death is a particularly tough loss that will be felt by so many people who she positively impacted. (She) lived a tremendously meaningful life and will be sorely missed.”

Officer Harris served with the Seattle Police Department for five years before her passing.

This is a ongoing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case. 

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