Attorneys representing the family of Leneal Frazier announced Friday (July 9) they will move forward with legal action after he was killed as an innocent bystander in a Minneapolis police chase.
"This is about race," attorney Jeff Storms said during the press conference, citing a study conducted by USA Today five years ago that showed Black Americans are three times more likely to die from police high speed chases –– even as innocent bystanders.
"When someone says this isn't about race, that's ignoring the various systematic race issues that are at play here," Storms said. "How law enforcement polices Black communities, the aggression with which law enforcement polices in particular our Black brothers and sisters," needs to be considered he continued. Leneal Frazier is the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed George Floyd's murder last May.
Storms said the family hasn't seen dash cam or body camera video of the police chase that took Leneal's life. They will pursue a lawsuit, though specifics around their plan of action won't be released until more facts are known about the case. The family, and their legal team, Storms said, is waiting on information from the police department.
"We need to hear more facts, we've seen some videos. The family has not had many questions answers," Storms said before emphasizing there will indeed be a lawsuit going forward. Storms said that the city needs to be held accountable for the reckless driving of police officers that led to Frazier's death.
Civil rights attorney and Minneapolis activist Nekima Levy Armstrong also spoke during the conference, sharing that community members have noticed officers running red lights and raised their concerns with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey but have yet to hear a response.
Armstrong also noted Leneal's death isn't the first time police in the city have killed people during a high speed chase, despite police policy that prohibits officers from initiating a high speed chase and must end a chase if it "poses an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public or passengers."
Members of Frazier's family spoke during the press conference. Orlando Frazier, Leneal's brother said, the family has yet to view their loved one's body or even had the opportunity to identify the body. "As a family right now, we're frustrated," Orlando said. "They took the most important from us," he said. "And yes, we want justice, because how can this keep going on like this?" he continued. "My family is hurting."
Leneal Frazier was killed Tuesday (July 6) after a police vehicle in pursuit of a robbery suspect struck the separate car Leneal Frazier was in. “You took an innocent life trying to catch someone else,” Darnella wrote on Facebook after hearing the news of her uncle’s death. The 40-year-old father of six was also the oldest of five siblings, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the family.
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The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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