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October 29, 2021

Local Civil Rights Group Demands Answers on Employment Status of MPD Officer Brian Cummings and an End to Dangerous Police Chases in Minnesota 

Minneapolis, MN— On Friday, October 22, Brian Cummings was charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide for killing Leneal Frazier, an innocent Black man driving through North Minneapolis on July 6, 2021. Two days after Mr. Frazier was killed, the Racial Justice Network demanded that Brian Cummings be fired and charged for killing Mr. Frazier. Then, on July 31, we sent a follow-up letter to Mayor Jacob Frey again demanding that Brian Cummings be fired. To date, Frey has never responded. Yesterday, we inquired with the city of Minneapolis to determine if Brian Cummings was still employed by MPD. The City has refused to answer the question. So we ask yet again: Is Brian Cummings still a Minneapolis Police Officer?

“It has been over 110 days since Brian Cummings recklessly drove through North Minneapolis at a speed of 100 mph killing Mr. Frazier, an innocent Black man, and we still can’t confirm if Mayor Jacob Frey has fired him,” said Racial Justice Network member Sonja Western. “If Brian Cummings has not been fired, he needs to be fired immediately.”

Since October 2020, there have been at least four examples of high-speed police chases resulting in seven deaths. Here is a brief summary:

  • 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.

None of the officers, outside of Brian Cummings, have ever been charged in these deaths. The Racial Justice Network calls on local county prosecutors to hold those officers accountable for their actions.

Given the frequency of these senseless deaths, we are demanding Governor Tim Walz and the State Legislature pass legislation banning high-speed chases in Minnesota. Currently, each jurisdiction has its own policy and in some instances, there is no transparency in the pursuit policy, such as in Ramsey County. State-wide action is necessary to end these dangerous law enforcement practices.

“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 Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. “Minnesotans must demand that Governor Tim Walz and the Legislature end this practice state-wide.”

The Racial Justice Network reiterates its calls for Brian Cummings to be fired if he is still employed by MPD. We also demand prosecution of all officers whose reckless behavior leads to stolen lives. Finally, we also demand that Governor Tim Walz and the Legislature end high-speed pursuits state-wide.

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.