An innocent man killed during a police chase has been identified as Darnella Frazier’s uncle. Earlier this year, the teen was awarded a Pulitzer citation for bravely filming the police murder of George Floyd.
According to CBS Minnesota, Leneal Frazier, Darnella’s uncle, was struck by a Minneapolis police squad car around 12:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday (July 6). At the time, police were pursuing a carjacking and robbery suspect in the area. The outlet reports that the suspect got away, but police crashed into Leneal’s car and he was killed.
“An officer observed the suspect vehicle in that area, attempted to pull it over and the vehicle — instead of pulling over — fled,” Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder said Tuesday.
Police pursued the suspect for eight blocks before crashing into Leneal’s and another car. The second car was totaled and the driver was treated for injuries at a hospital but is now recovering at home, CBS writes.
Darnella mourned the loss of her uncle on Facebook.
“Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police!” she wrote. “Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss.”
“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 reads. “He was the father of [six] children and [one[ grandchild. He was the oldest of [five] siblings, so of course he was their protector. 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.”
Leneal Frazier’s sister Cheryl Frazier, who organized the GoFundMe, spoke with CBS after the tragedy.
“He was a very good person. He would help you if you needed help. He’ll give you the shirt off his back if he had to,” she said of her brother. “He was always that type of person.”
According to the Minneapolis police pursuit policy, officers are not supposed to pursue a suspect when there is “an unreasonable risk to the officer, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued.” Police can also only pursue a suspect who they believe committed or is about to commit a “serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor.” The state patrol is investigating the crash.