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Former Minneapolis police officer sentenced to jail in deadly crash during pursuit

Prosecutors said Brian Cummings was negligent in pursuing a stolen vehicle at 90 mph. An innocent driver, Leneal Frazier, was killed in a crash.
Flanked by his attorneys Thomas Plunkett, left, and Deborah Ellis, former Minneapolis police officer Brian Cummings listens to Judge Tamara Garcia during his sentencing at the Hennepin Government Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Cummings pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide for a chase of a suspected carjacker that resulted in a crash that killed Leneal Frazier, who was uninvolved in the chase.
Brian Cummings, center, at his sentencing in Minneapolis on Wednesday.Elizabeth Flores / Star Tribune via AP

A former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to around nine months in jail Wednesday for a crash that killed an innocent driver as the officer pursued a stolen vehicle, officials said.

The former officer, Brian Cummings, was sentenced to 270 days in county jail after he pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said.

Cummings was chasing a stolen vehicle early July 6, 2021, and ran a red light before he crashed into an uninvolved Jeep, killing Leneal Frazier, 40, the prosecutor’s office said.

“Today’s sentencing sends an important message that every person in our county will be held accountable for their actions when they break the law," County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a statement.

Cummings was charged in October 2021 with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide.

Leneal’s brother, Richard Frazier, asked the court for jail time Wednesday, NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis reported.

“We’re asking please send him to jail. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s something,” he said.

Cummings crashed as he was chasing a suspect in an armed carjacking and robbery, according to police documents.

He had his lights and siren on during the chase, which began around 12:30 a.m. and lasted around 20 blocks, according to a criminal complaint.

He was traveling about 90 mph right before he ran the red light. At the time he struck Frazier's Jeep, his speed was 78 mph, the complaint says. Frazier had the green light at the intersection.

Cummings pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in April.

He apologized to the Frazier family in court Wednesday.

“I’d like to take this time to acknowledge the great pain and suffering that the Frazier family’s experiencing, and I’d like to also offer my most heartfelt apology,” he said, according to video from KARE.