MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Charges were dropped Friday against the man accused of fleeing police in a high-speed chase the death of an innocent in Minneapolis two years ago.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office dismissed the police escape and auto theft charges against 20-year-old James Jeremiah Jones-Drain on the grounds that “at this time it is not possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt all of the charges,” it said in a brief Court filing to the Star Tribune reported.
According to the Hennepin County Sheriff, Jones-Drain remains in custody with other pending charges including robbery and illegal weapons possession Website.
Brian Cummings, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the chase, was convicted in July to nine months in the county workhouse, eligible for electronic home surveillance in three months after pleading guilty to a vehicle chase.
Prosecutors said at the time that Cummings was chasing a suspected car thief on July 6, 2021, when he ran a red light and hit a car belonging to 40-year-old St. Paul resident Leneal Frazier, who died at the scene. Frazier’s niece was Darnella Frazier, who shot the cell phone video of George Floyd’s death when former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck in 2020.
Cummings was driving nearly 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) in Minneapolis with his siren and lights on when his squad car crashed into the vehicle, officials said. The accident ended a chase that lasted more than 20 blocks, including through residential neighborhoods where the speed limit was 25 mph (40 km/h).
Thomas Plunkett, Cummings’ attorney, said in an email: “Mr Cummings has risked his life many times to protect people. He’s in prison. Mr. Jones-Drain, an armed thief responsible for the death of Leneal Frasier , and stolen from the innocent gets a break? Minneapolis is a better place to be a criminal than a police officer.”
Jones-Drain’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.