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New videos of Minneapolis police crash that killed Leneal Frazier released hours after family files suit

New footage released in deadly collision that killed an innocent bystander during a police chase
New footage released in deadly collision that killed an innocent bystander during a police chase 02:29

MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time, we're seeing new videos of the crash that killed innocent 40-year-old bystander Leneal Frazier, and led to criminal charges for a former Minneapolis officer. 

The high-speed crash happened in July 2021, when former officer Brian Cummings was chasing a carjacking and robbery suspect in north Minneapolis.

Cummings pleaded guilty in 2023 to criminal vehicular homicide and was sentenced to nine months in the county workhouse.

The new video coincides with a lawsuit from Frazier's family claiming dangerous chases happen disproportionately in communities of color.

Storms Dworak, the law firm behind the suit, said this video was previously kept confidential due to Cummings' criminal case. 

The newly released videos show the before, during and after the fatal crash. New dash cam footage appears to show Cummings traveling more than 90 mph right before the impact.

In traffic surveillance video, you see Cummings running the red light and broadsiding Frazier's vehicle.  

Leneal Frazier Frazier Family

New body camera shows officers, including Cummings, arriving on the scene of the wreckage. In the video, you hear Cummings tell officers he wasn't sure if he ran a red light.

The new complaint states: "The City has maintained unlawful practices that disproportionately target Black drivers for these pursuits compared to similarly situated White drivers," with pursuits more likely to be initiated in neighborhoods with a disproportionately high number of Black residents.

The complaint goes on to highlight several dangerous high-speed chases involving Black individuals in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

One of those incidences referenced occurred in 1996, when an officer drove the wrong way during a pursuit, reaching speeds of 150 mph. It led to the death of another innocent bystander: 38-year-old Brian Feist.

WCCO spoke with attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not associated with the case, about the new suit's viability.

"I think the case is very strong in the negligence aspect, there is no doubt in my mind," Tamburino said. "The question becomes will they prevail on a civil rights action?"

A City of Minneapolis spokesperson said they do not have a comment on the lawsuit at this time. However, Tamburino has an idea of what the city's defense will be.

"The city is going to say, 'Look, we don't decide where someone flees. If someone flees around Lake of the Isles, we have the same policy as if they flee in north Minneapolis,'" Tamburino said.

Frazier, a father of six children, was an uncle of Darnella Frazier, who shot the cellphone video of George Floyd's death when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck in 2020.

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