A Minneapolis Police squad car collided with two other cars on Tuesday, July 6, killing one motorist, and injuring the police officer. The collision happened just after midnight on Monday, and into the early morning of the following day, at about 12:30 a.m., according to the Associated Press.
The collision involved three cars in total, after an MPD car struck an SUV and then a minivan during the pursuit of another car, which ended up getting away. The driver who died in this police chase, Leneal Lamont Frazier, had nothing to do with the pursuit, as local NBC affiliate, KARE 11 reports:
The driver was related to Darnella Frazier, whom you may recognize as the teen that recorded the murder of George Floyd. The young woman posted a statement on her Facebook page, reposted by KARE 11, drawing attention to the dangers of these chases on public roads. In her post, Frazier addressed the police and said “you took an innocent life trying to catch someone else.”
The Minneapolis State Patrol is investigating the collision, meanwhile a spokesman for the MPD released the following brief details, per KARE 11:
Minneapolis Police Spokesman John Elder said early Tuesday morning that an officer was near North 6th Street and Lowry Avenue looking for a person connected to an armed robbery. When the suspect was seen driving nearby, the officer tried to pull the person over, but they took off.
The officer chased the suspect and was driving north on Lyndale Avenue when the police cruiser entered the intersection at 41st Street and hit a car driving westbound. It then hit another vehicle traveling south on Lyndale.
An occupant of the vehicle heading westbound was killed. The officer is in serious condition with non-life threatening injuries, according to Elder.
That same spokesperson for the MPD also told the Star Tribune that the policeman was already released from the hospital, and that the driver of the minivan did not suffer any major injuries.
The investigation will determine what the conditions were leading up to the fatal collision, as the Star Tribune details:
The Police Department will begin an internal investigation into the pursuit, including looking at whether the squad had its emergency lights on and siren activated as department policy requires, Elder said. The intersection is controlled by stoplights, and Elder said he could not say who had the right of way, referring questions to the State Patrol.
The [pursuit] policy reads that officers can only give chase in situations where they believe a suspect has committed or is about to commit “a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor.” The policy also allows for a pursuit if the suspect’s driving is “so flagrantly reckless that the driver would pose an imminent and life-threatening danger to the public if not apprehended.”
Tuesday morning’s pursuit “fit the criteria,” Elder said.
From what the MPD is saying so far, it seems like the pursuit was, once again, just “standard procedure” and the subsequent loss of life and property is just another unfortunate side effect. This is an endemic problem in American cities, and Americans are dying because of it.