Charges dropped against man accused of fleeing police in a high-speed chase that killed a bystander
Aug 25, 2023, 3:45 PM
(Antranik Tavitian/Star Tribune via AP, File)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Charges were dropped on Friday against the man who was accused of fleeing police in a high-speed chase that resulted in the death of a bystander in Minneapolis two years ago.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office dismissed counts of fleeing police and auto theft against James Jeremiah Jones-Drain, 20, citing an “inability to prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at this time,” according to a brief court filing, the Star Tribune reported.
Jones-Drain remains in custody with other cases pending — including felony charges of robbery and illegally possessing a gun — according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s website.
Brian Cummings, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the chase, was sentenced in July to nine months in the county workhouse, with eligibility for electronic home monitoring in three months, after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in the high-speed chase.
Prosecutors said at the time that 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’s niece was 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 have 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).
Thomas Plunkett, attorney for Cummings, said in an email, “Mr. Cummings risked his life many times to protect people. He sits in jail. Mr. Jones-Drain, a gun toting thief, who bears responsibility for the death of Leneal Frasier, and stole from the innocent gets a break? Minneapolis is a better place to be a criminal than a law enforcement officer.”
Jones-Drain’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.