An innocent man who was killed when a Minneapolis Police Department squad car slammed into his vehicle was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenage bystander who recorded the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white cop.
Leneal Lamont Frazier, 40, died when his SUV was struck around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday by a police cruiser. The officer was reportedly chasing another driver—who has not been publicly identified—wanted for carjacking and multiple robberies, and Frazier was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I honestly can’t believe I’m making this post right now...I’m so hurt...nothing feels real,” Darnella Frazier wrote on Facebook after hearing of her uncle’s death. “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! … Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss… It’s not fair how the police can just go around killing people… you took an innocent life trying to catch someone else... I was just with you at the beach ....if I would’ve known that would be my last time seeing you, I would’ve hugged you so much longer, told you I love you way harder....I love you so much.... please pray for my family 🙏🏽😪His name is Leneal Lamont Frazier. Uncle I love you 💕it’s just hard for me to accept I won’t see you again.”
The wreck involved a total of three vehicles, including the squad car, Minneapolis PD spokesman John Elder said in an email. When an officer spotted a carjacked vehicle involved with “multiple” area robberies, they attempted to initiate a traffic stop, according to Elder. The driver fled, and as the officer followed the stolen car, the cop collided with two other cars, including Frazier’s.
Frazier was taken to North Memorial Hospital, where he later died. The unidentified officer was treated and released. The third driver’s condition is unknown; the suspect was not involved in the crash and is still at large, according to Elder.
Frazier’s sister Cheryl is still trying to process what happened. Her brother was on his way home when he died, she said.
“The police [were] doing a high-speed chase, chasing someone else, and they ended up hitting him and he was the only person in the accident who lost his life,” an emotional Frazier told The Daily Beast, saying of the suspect who got away, “That man is still free.”
In the aftermath of her brother’s death, the Minneapolis PD’s silence has been puzzling, Frazier continued.
“The police have not reached out to us,” she said. “They have not said anything to us.”
Elder, the Minneapolis PD spokesman, did not directly address The Daily Beast’s questions about any plans by the department to contact Frazier’s family.
Darnella Frazier was 17 when she recorded a cellphone video in May 2020 of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as he was making an arrest. Police had been called to the scene over a $20 bill that a convenience store clerk thought was counterfeit. The video of Floyd’s murder went viral after Frazier uploaded it to Facebook, sparking protests at home and abroad against police abuse. She said at the time that she opened her phone and “started recording because I knew if I didn’t, no one would believe me.” Frazier won a special Pulitzer Prize this year for the video.
“A year ago, today I witnessed a murder,” Frazier said in a Facebook post this spring. “The victim’s name was George Floyd. Although this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a black man get killed at the hands of the police, this is the first time I witnessed it happen in front of me. Right in front of my eyes, a few feet away. I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered. I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.”
The Minnesota State Patrol will conduct an investigation into the crash that killed Leneal Frazier, who leaves behind six children, one grandchild, and four siblings. A GoFundMe page set up Tuesday to raise money for funeral expenses and Frazier’s kids has so far generated $6,865.