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Innocent man killed in Minneapolis police crash ID'd as uncle of Darnella Frazier

He was not involved in the pursuit.
Leneal Frazier

Leneal Frazier

Family members have identified the motorist who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer in a police pursuit hit his uninvolved vehicle.

Leneal Frazier, 40, was driving early Tuesday morning when an officer who was in pursuit of a robbery suspect hit Frazier's vehicle near Lyndale Avenue and 41st Avenue North, according to a Go Fund Me page

Related: Minneapolis officer crashes into private vehicle during a pursuit, killing driver

According to FOX 9, Leneal Frazier was on his way to his girlfriend's house when he was hit and killed. 

Leneal Frazier was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed George Floyd's arrest and his death outside Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. 

Darnella Frazier shared her grief in a Facebook post Tuesday night. 

"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," she wrote. "Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!"

She added, "It's not fair how the police can just go around killing people ... why are you doing a high-speed chase on a residential [road]?"

The Minnesota State Patrol has taken over the investigation into the crash at the request of Minneapolis PD. Details of how the police officer's squad collided with Frazier's vehicle have not yet been revealed.

A GoFundMe page set up to help his six children and one grandchild, as well as help his family pay for funeral expenses. 

"Leneal was a family oriented person with a good heart, the biggest heart a person could ever have. He would help anyone, anytime no matter the circumstances," the page says. "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."

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The crash 

According to a Minneapolis Police Department news release, an officer spotted a suspected carjacked vehicle near North 6th Street and Lowry Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The driver reportedly fled when police tried to stop the suspect, sparking the pursuit that went through Lyndale Avenue and 41st Avenue North. 

That's when the northbound MPD squad car collided with Leneal Frazier's vehicle, which was on westbound 41st Avenue North. 

Leneal Frazier and the officer were taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where the Leneal Frazier died from their injuries. The police officer was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

A vehicle that was southbound on Lyndale was also involved in the crash, though MPD did not report any injuries.

Police have not said what happened with the fleeing suspect, who was allegedly involved in multiple robberies of businesses.

The Minnesota State Patrol is conducting a reconstruction of the crash as part of its investigation. The name of the officer involved hasn't been released. 

In 2019, MPD changed its policy for pursuits following a number of high-profile crashes involving suspects or police officers in the city.

The new policy stipulated that officers would no longer give chase over minor offenses, such was the risk inherent with pursuits. The new policy states that chase may only be given for "a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor."

Note: Some of the details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

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