Darnella Frazier who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in photography for filming the murder of George Floyd, had the cloud of tragedy hover near again, this time closer to home. Her uncle, Leneal Lamont Frazier, was killed when a police car hit his vehicle during a high-speed chase in Minneapolis on July 7. When the story first came out, it was widely misconstrued because of the way it was posted on Facebook.
“Minneapolis police killed my uncle…another Black man lost his life in the hands of the police!” Frazier went on to post that the city’s cops “cost my whole family a big loss…today has been a day full of heartbreak and sadness.” It rang with all implications of revenge for the conviction of Derek Chauvin, convicted and imprisoned for taking Floyd’s life with a compressed knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
But the situation and the story needed context, and a full news account came out in bits and pieces. According to the police report, Mr. Frazier, 40, was not being pursued by the police but was accidentally killed when the police car smashed into his car in the middle of an intersection in pursuit of a suspect. Mr. Frazier’s wrecked Jeep was shown after it crashed into a tree. The accident is still under investigation and officials are trying to determine whether or not the police car was using its emergency light and siren at the time of the crash.
The collision of cars was so powerful that it shook the house of a nearby resident. “When completed, the State Police [will] turn its findings over to the county attorney for review,” said Bruce Gordon, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Safety. The police officer responsible for the death of Ms. Frazier’s uncle was not seriously injured. The suspect he was chasing remains at large.
There is a haunting irony to her uncle’s death and the words she expressed about George Floyd have tragic resonance. “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all Black,” Frazier told the court during the Derek Chauvin trial. “I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.” Her voice cracked as she added that she stayed up some nights apologizing to Floyd, wishing she had done more to help him.
The teenager now has to actually look at her dead uncle Leneal, and the image of George Floyd is sure to flood her memory.