Criminal Defense

Protection: Suspects’ violent crime spree prompted Mpls. police chase that ended with lethal crash

Two youngsters had been on a violent crime spree final summer time whereas fleeing in a stolen automotive when a Minneapolis police officer pursuing them hit an SUV along with his squad and killed the motive force, in keeping with newly-filed court docket paperwork.

The disclosure got here in protection filings made this week in Hennepin County District Courtroom on behalf of Officer Brian Cummings in an try to have second-degree manslaughter and legal vehicular murder prices dismissed in opposition to him. Cummings was positioned on depart after the July 6 high-speed collision at a north Minneapolis intersection that killed 40-year-old Leneal Frazier of St. Paul.

Cummings, 38, left the Minneapolis police in October, the day after the fees had been filed. Metropolis officers Friday declined to say whether or not he resigned or was fired.

Protection lawyer Thomas Plunkett argued in his dismissal movement that Cummings’ pursuit of the 2 suspects was “per [police] division insurance policies” on the time and that his consumer “has been singled out for prosecution for a political goal. … The protection intends to supply credible proof that [other officers] equally located weren’t prosecuted.”

A listening to is scheduled earlier than Decide Tamara Garcia on Thursday, when Plunkett’s movement for dismissal shall be taken up.

The Hennepin County Lawyer’s Workplace issued a press release Friday saying it would file a written response to the protection’s motions and launch it to the general public.

“Suffice to say for now that these motions are fully with none foundation within the information or within the regulation and thus shall be vigorously opposed,” the assertion learn. “Our workplace won’t permit the private nature of those motions to deflect consideration away from the legal conduct underlying this case: that the defendant was driving by means of a residential space after midnight at speeds exceeding 90 mph, which resulted within the tragic loss of life of an harmless man.”

Prosecutors say that Cummings was driving 90 miles per hour on residential streets when he ran a crimson mild and entered the intersection of N. Lyndale and forty first avenues simply as Frazier’s Jeep was crossing it. Cummings struck the motive force’s facet of the Jeep at about 78 mph, in keeping with the fees.

The pursuit of the stolen automobile lined 20 metropolis blocks because it ran cease indicators and crimson lights. The stolen automobile was touring about 100 mph when it ran a crimson mild on the intersection and practically struck Frazier’s automobile.

When Cummings was charged final fall, Hennepin County Lawyer Mike Freeman known as his actions “egregious” and stated the suspects’ crimes concerned neither violence nor weapons and that the officer would have identified that.

“There is no such thing as a affordable individual, no affordable cop that may drive 90 miles per hour in residential neighborhoods late at night time,” Freeman stated on the time.

Plunkett, in his effort to have the fees dismissed, lays out a much more troubling and contradictory image of the suspects, 18-year-old Dorian R. Flowers and 19-year-old James J. Jones-Drain. Costs in opposition to them element a string of no less than 15 robberies, a few of them violent, that continued as much as inside hours of the deadly crash.

The protection submitting features a crime alert “for regulation enforcement solely” from the state Bureau of Felony Apprehension issued on the identical day because the crash that killed Frazier, explaining the circumstances of the collision and the way the suspects being pursued “had been concerned in a number of armed robberies.”

It went on to say the suspects had been in a automotive that was taken in “a strong-arm carjacking.” The alert warned any officer finding the automobile to “USE CAUTION IF OCCUPIED.”

The dismissal submitting relates that Cummings will be heard on dispatch audio saying that he thought he was pursuing a automotive that was stolen in a “carjacking at gunpoint.”

Felony prices from Freeman’s workplace in reference to a number of of the robberies element numerous levels of bodily violence, as the 2 suspects allegedly stole money from one enterprise after one other, together with three a number of hours earlier than the 12:30 a.m. collision.

An worker at a Minneapolis CVS pharmacy was pushed throughout one theft that night time, and one of many teenagers allegedly “pushed the cashier over” whereas concentrating on a Subway restaurant. Earlier on July 5, one other Subway in Minneapolis was robbed, in keeping with a multi-agency alert from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Workplace.

Two weeks earlier than the crash, one of many suspects allegedly pushed a cashier at a White Fortress restaurant in Minneapolis as money was being grabbed from the register. The cashier was punched within the mouth, opening a small lower.

That very same day in Robbinsdale, a Greenback Retailer clerk was pushed to the ground whereas the 2 teenagers allegedly jumped the counter and stole cash from the money register.

Plunkett claims within the dismissal filings that Freeman was motivated by politics and never justice when his workplace prosecuted Cummings, contending that the county lawyer selected the improper case to make use of as a platform to sentence police pursuit insurance policies in Minnesota.

“The fees … had been primarily based on improper political concerns, and as such violate Cummings’ rights to due course of and basic equity,” the protection lawyer wrote. “When a prosecution is premised on unhealthy religion and improper goal, the courts should intervene to stop an injustice.”

Frazier was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the younger girl whose cellphone video of George Floyd’s loss of life in Might 2020 helped convict fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of homicide.

Back to top button