Another High Speed Chase Death: A 6-year-old

From Racial Justice Network

On Friday, July 15, 2022, Brooklyn Center Police initiated a high-speed chase through residential areas. Brooklyn Center Police confirmed that speeds reached 70 mph. The car they pursued ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle, which was occupied by five innocent people, including Blessings McLaurin-Gray, only 6-years-old, who tragically died of her injuries. Another passenger, a 15-year-old, remains hospitalized. Blessings and her family were returning from a day at the pool and were blocks from home. The parents of a six-year-old should never have to worry about their child being killed as a result of a high-speed police chase. 

Too many lives have been stolen as a result of high-speed police chases in Minnesota. Since October 2020, there have been at least six high-speed police chases resulting in ten deaths. It is beyond time for elected officials and law enforcement leaders to end this dangerous and unnecessary practice. There is no justification for high-risk police chases that too-often result in innocent people being killed.

We, the members of the Racial Justice Network,  are calling on Governor Walz and all elected officials, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Brooklyn Center  Mayor Mike Elliot, to intervene and call for an end to high-speed police chases in Minnesota and to hold police officers accountable for this reckless and deadly behavior. 

“Elected leaders must act now to end this dangerous and unnecessary practice. If they don’t, more and more innocent lives will die needlessly. Just last week while driving my vehicle on I-94, I noticed a car speeding at an unusually high rate. A few seconds later, I saw a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputy not far behind, chasing the car in his vehicle. This high speed chase happened in the middle of the day on a busy highway and could have easily resulted in someone being killed. It was terrifying to witness and experience. When officers continue to initiate high speed chases in residential areas and on freeways, they are showing a blatant disregard for human life. This behavior can no longer be tolerated,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. 

Since October 2020, there have been at least six examples of high-speed police chases resulting in ten deaths. Below is a brief summary of the most recent incidents:

  • July 15, 2022, Brooklyn Center police were pursuing a vehicle that collided with another vehicle (not involved in the pursuit) resulting in a six-year-old’s death.
  • December 9, 2021, Robbinsdale Police department initiated a high-speed chase that ended in Northeast Minneapolis resulting in the deaths of two teenagers.
  • September 5, 2021, A high-speed chase initiated by the Eden Prairie Police Department resulted in the death of two 19-year-olds. 
  • September 3, 2021, two teenagers, ages 14 and 15, were killed as a result of a high-speed chase initiated by North St. Paul police. 
  • July 6, 2021, Leneal Frazier was an innocent motorist killed during a high-speed chase by Minneapolis police.
  • October 2020, three teenagers were killed during a high speed chase in North Minneapolis.

The Racial Justice Network demands the following: 

  • We demand the elimination of high-speed police chases in the state of Minnesota. 
  • We plead with all elected officials, law enforcement leaders, and prosecutors to fire and prosecute all officers whose reckless behavior during police pursuits has led to unnecessary tragic deaths.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines.