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Former Minneapolis police officer sentenced to nine months after fatally crashing into a man

Jul 12, 2023, 2:34 PM

Flanked by his attorneys Thomas Plunkett, left, and Deborah Ellis, former Minneapolis police office...

Flanked by his attorneys Thomas Plunkett, left, and Deborah Ellis, former Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings listens to Judge Tamara Garcia during his sentencing at the Hennepin Government Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Cummings pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide for a chase of a suspected carjacker that resulted in a crash that killed Leneal Frazier, who was uninvolved in the chase. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in the county workhouse, with eligibility for electric home monitoring in three months, after the officer pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in a high-speed chase that killed a bystander two years ago.

Prosecutors said former officer Brian Cummings was pursuing a suspected car thief on July 6, 2021, when he ran a red light and hit a car driven by Leneal Frazier, 40, of St. Paul, who died at the scene.

Frazier, a father of six children, was an uncle of Darnella Frazier, who shot the cellphone video of George Floyd’s death when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck in 2020.

Cummings was driving nearly 80 mph (129 kph) in Minneapolis with his siren and lights activated when his squad car slammed into the vehicle, officials said. The crash ended a chase that lasted more than 20 blocks, including through residential neighborhoods where the posted speed limit was 25 mph (40 kph).

Frazier’s mother, siblings and children filled the courtroom for sentencing on Wednesday, knowing that Cummings’ plea agreement would result in him serving a year or less, the Star Tribune reported.

Frazier’s uncle Dwayne Jackson held an urn with the ashes of his nephew, according to the Tribune, as he told the judge that if a non-officer killed someone, they wouldn’t be looking at a consequence this light.

“It’s not right that the officer gets less time for murder,” said Jackson, the Tribune reported. “If we go out and do things like that to each other, we would be blessed at getting a year — A year? That’s all he get? It shouldn’t be like that.”

Cummings, who had family and some colleagues there in support, addressed the court by offering “my most heartfelt apology in the untimely death of Mr. Frazier,” according to the Tribune.

“I’d like to take this time to acknowledge the great pain and suffering the Frazier family is experiencing,” he said, adding that he hopes the Fraziers can find “peace and healing, too.”

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Former Minneapolis police officer sentenced to nine months after fatally crashing into a man