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Darnella Frazier, Teen Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder, Lost Uncle Leneal Lamont Frazier in Minneapolis Police Car Crash

Police were pursuing a carjacking/robbery suspect and ended up hitting Leneal, an innocent bystander.

Minneapolis Police Department

According to CBS Minnesota, an innocent victim in a car crash caused by the Minneapolis Police has been identified as Leneal Lamont Frazier, the uncle of Darnella Frazier.

It happened around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of 41st Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue. Police say the officer was chasing after a carjacking and robbery suspect at the time. The person police were chasing got away, and a man driving a different car was killed.

Family members tell WCCO that the victim is Leneal Frazier, a father of five who was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video of George Floyd’s death that was seen around the world.

Darnella posted on Facebook about the accident and shared a GoFundMe page to raise money for yet another Black man’s funeral because of the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Darnella Facebook

I want all of this to sink in for a moment.

About a month ago, Darnella Frazier was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for “highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice” in her recording the murder of George Floyd. Many praised her efforts, but there’s always been a stronger message, to me, running alongside the comments about Frazier’s bravery.

This child is going to spend a lot of time being fearful for her life and the lives of others around her.

It’s impossible for me to read about this and think that it was a mere coincidence.

Police chose to initiate that high-speed chase in that residential area, and in the end, they didn’t even catch their suspect.

Instead, they made Darnella Frazier trend again.

What makes all of this truly frightening is that Leneal Frazier was an innocent bystander, yet the police still found a way.

As a Black woman, I know that there is already a rightful level of mistrust toward the police due to their constant brutality against us. I’ve grown up hearing all kinds of explanations that try to justify why the police do this. The conviction of Derek Chauvin isn’t always the result we get, and when it does happen, it’s never enough time to make up for the decades upon decades of ongoing police brutality.

Even so, as seen in Darnella Frazier’s case, we’re praised for our efforts when, really, we wish we didn’t have to make them at all. Trust me when I say that we’d much rather not need an entire movement that centers on us making people realize that, hey, maybe don’t be racist, and maybe don’t be racist to the point that we’re murdered on film.

Hearing people call a child a hero because she filmed a murder at the hands of those who are supposed to “protect and serve” is gut-wrenching because it’s the last thing you want a Black teenage girl to experience. It’s an exhausting, double-edged sword of knowing that we have to actually convince the masses that our lives matter. The Darnella Fraziers have to put their childhoods on hold in favor of seeking justice and, in a way, they’re expected to do this, because this is how everyone else, hopefully, begins to understand something as basic as “don’t kill us.” This leads to hostility from those who paint us as evildoers trying to take down the police and it leads to that “you’re so strong” narrative that applauds us for having to break ourselves apart to repeat the words that we’ve been saying for centuries: let us live.

That narrative becomes the thing allies champion without realizing the cruel reality of us knowing that speaking out could mean nothing because, well, someone else was just killed at the hands of the police—after all the protests, the trial, and the Pulitzer Prize, Darnella Frazier still lost her uncle because of the police.

It weighs heavily on me because it’s become a generational thing. My mother has her own George Floyd stories, and even Leneal Lamont Frazier stories where someone who is connected to the person who took a stand against police brutality “just so happens” to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Meanwhile, those in my family who are younger drive around knowing that all it takes is one cop to make them a trending hashtag for the most heartbreaking reasons.

This is why there were comments going around, when Darnella won that Pulitzer, saying to protect her and those around her. It was an attempt to get folks to realize that recognition doesn’t protect you.

Where do we go from here? I honestly don’t know. I just know that I’m tired of being in this cycle. My heart hurts for Darnella and her family. My heart hurts in preparation for my city being in the spotlight again just like it was last summer. All I can do is offer what little love and light I have to Darnella, knowing that it won’t be enough to protect this girl from the continued cruelty against her and the Black community.

The only way I can think to end this is by saying to please think before you applaud a child’s efforts. Realize that child is literally putting their life on the line, and realize that they absolutely shouldn’t have to. Instead of adding to the “Black is strong and can persevere through anything” narrative, add to one that makes our wellbeing a top priority.

Rest in power, Leneal.

I’m so sorry, Darnella.

(image: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)