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Charges dropped for motorist involved in Leneal Frazier crash

A selfie of Lenael Frazier, who was killed in a crash with Minneapolis Police Officer Brian Cummings.

A motorist who was accused of fleeing police in 2021 had the charges against him dismissed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office after it was unable to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

James Jeremiah Jones-Drain was arrested 18 months after the chase, during which Minneapolis Police Officer Brian Cummings sped at over 100 mph on residential streets before crashing into bystander Lenael Frazier’s Jeep, killing Frazier. Officer Cummings was sentenced to less than a year in a county workhouse for the crash.

Civil Rights Attorney Jeff Storms, representing the Frazier family in a potential lawsuit against the city, said the family is “deeply disappointed” by the dismissal.

Jones-Drain allegedly robbed four retail businesses and stole a women’s SUV with one other person before being pursued by police. Cummings attorney Thomas Plunkett referenced those instances in an effort to get the charges against Cummings dismissed. Jones-Drain remains jailed on illegal firearm charges and has 10 open cases against him in Hennepin County.

Police chases have been under increasing scrutiny in the Twin Cities, with the Council of American-Islamic Relations Minnesota demanding for the chases to be banned after five young women were killed in a crash by a man fleeing police. The man, Derrick Thompson, is currently charged with 10 counts of vehicular homicide and remains in custody.

A USA Today analysis of federal reports from 1979 to 2013 found that one-third of all police chases ended in crashes, resulting in more than 11,000 deaths nationwide.

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