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December 11, 2021

Community Groups Demand Statewide Ban on High-Speed Chases by Law Enforcement Following Deaths of Multiple Teens in Recent Months


Twin Cities, Minnesota

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, two teenagers were tragically killed and three were injured as a result of a high-speed chase initiated by Robbinsdale police into Northeast Minneapolis. Multiple young lives have been unnecessarily taken this year due to high-speed police pursuits, which also threaten the safety of innocent bystanders in our community.

Few details about the deadly police chase and resulting fatalities have been released to the public. There are many unanswered questions, including which police departments were involved, the names of the officer(s) involved, the speed at which the officers were driving, and the alternatives used to address the situation prior to the initiation of a high-speed chase. There is no justification for these dangerous police chases that too-often result in people being killed, and without due process under law.

We, the members of the Racial Justice Network, believe that all people are innocent until proven guilty, and being found guilty should not result in a death sentence. We are calling on Governor Walz and all elected officials, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Robbinsdale Mayor Bill Blonigan, to intervene and call for an end to high speed police chases in Minnesota and to hold police officers accountable for this dangerous and unnecessary behavior.

“These are senseless deaths that can and should be prevented. When officers continue to initiate high speed chases in residential areas, they are showing a blatant disregard for human life.” said Racial Justice Network member Sonja Western. Minnesotans must call and write to our City Council, respective Mayors, State Representatives, and Governor Walz to hold them accountable for their role in dangerous and poorly-enforced police policies.

Since October 2020, there have been at least five examples of high-speed police chases resulting in nine deaths. Below is a brief summary of the most recent incidents:

  • December 9, 2021, Robbinsdale Police department initiated a high-speed chase that ended in Northeast Minneapolis resulting in the deaths of two teenagers.

  • September 5, 2021, a high-speed chase initiated by the Eden Prairie Police Department resulted in the death of a 19 year old.

  • September 3, 2021, two teenagers, ages 14 and 15, were killed as a result of a high-speed chase initiated by North St. Paul police.

  • July 6, 2021, Leneal Frazier was an innocent motorist killed during a high-speed chase by Minneapolis police.

  • October 2020, three teenagers were killed during a high speed chase in North Minneapolis.

Property can always be replaced; human lives cannot. We demand the elimination of high-speed police chases in the state of Minnesota. Lastly, we implore the mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors to fire and prosecute all officers whose reckless behavior during police pursuits lead to stolen lives.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines.