Mpls Cop Charged in Death of Bystander While In Pursuit

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Mpls Cop Charged in Death of Bystander While In Pursuit

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has charged Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings with second degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Leneal Frazier.

Feven Gerezgiher reports:

On Friday Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings with second degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Leneal Frazier.

“Officers have got to know if they are as brazen and as negligent as Officer Cummings, at least as long as I’m here, they’re going to get charged,” said Freeman.

The county attorney said Cummings was in pursuit of a stolen vehicle near midnight, driving at high speeds for more than 20 blocks through residential streets of North Minneapolis. The attorney says he ran a red light and slammed into the driver’s side of Frazier’s car at nearly 80 mph, killing him.

“That’s tragic. That’s criminal. That’s why we charged,” said Freeman.

Freeman said the drivers of the stolen vehicle were never apprehended. He also said that pursuits have led to 40 fatalities in Minnesota in the last 10 years.

Freeman is now calling on the Minneapolis Police Department to change its policies around pursuits.

Mitchell-Hamline law professor Rick Petry found the news unexpected.

“For a long time, it seemed like the county attorney in Hennepin County didn't charge police officers, no matter what they did,” he said. “So there seems to be a change in the tide for whatever reason.”

Petry said MPD has clear policies indicating pursuits should not continue when they endanger public safety.

“Policies are important, but even more important than the policies are the enforcement of the policy,” said Petry. “And that's been one of the big challenges in the Minneapolis Police Department for as long as I can remember is holding people accountable when they violate the law, or if they violate police policies.”

Petry said Cummings faces up to 10 years in jail.

(audio credit: KARE 11)

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