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MPD Cop Brian Cummings Faces Charges in Leneal Frazier’s Death

Plus Linden Hills NIMBY behavior and Ben & Jerry's weighs in on Ballot Question 2 in today's Flyover.

Tony Webster

Seeking Justice for Leneal Frazier

Minneapolis Police Officer Brian Cummings is being charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide in the July crash that killed Leneal Frazier, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Friday. Prosecutors say Cummings reached speeds near 100 miles per hour while chasing a stolen vehicle through north Minneapolis, before running a red light and smashing into Frazier’s Jeep. “Police are supposed to protect and serve citizens, and to act in a manner consistent with their sworn oath to do so,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in a statement. “Officer Cummings’s actions deviated from his oath and his negligence caused the death of Leneal Frazier.” Frazier was the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed George Floyd’s murder by MPD officer Derek Chauvin.

Much Ado About Parking

When it comes to the Metro E Line project, a group of Linden Hills business owners is going with one of the oldest moves in the NIMBY playbook: complaining that public transit would be detrimental to the neighborhood. In a September Southwest Voices community post that’s “making the rounds” on Twitter today, Jen Bellefleur of New Gild Jewelers and Matt Perry of the Southwest Business Association argue against plans to build arterial Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) stations in Linden Hills. While their letter begins with a bit about how the streetcar line of the 1920s gave the neighborhood the charm it still enjoys today, they’re less enamored with Metro Transit’s current plans. They worry about construction time and losing eight (8) parking spaces to aBRT stations, and they’re concerned about damage to the “curb appeal” of their community. And we regret to inform you that lots of other small business owners signed off on the post.

Ben & Jerry’s Finally Takes Stand on Minneapolis’s Cop Q

When weighing matters of civic import, we rarely look to the sweet, creamy advice of ice cream companies. But hey, maybe we should. On Thursday, Vermont-based frozen treat manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s issued a thoughtful, hyper-local endorsement of Question 2 on the ballots of Minneapolis voters. “Minneapolis organizers, activists, and residents have worked for years to dismantle the failed system of policing that led to the murder of George Floyd and so many other Black men and women in their city and across America, and build a new system of public safety,” B&J’s writes with eloquence rarely achieved by the Strib Ed Board, which opposes the measure. “Question 2 is the result of that hard work, and we think it could point the way forward not only for Minneapolis, but for the rest of the country too.”

The article even includes a visual metaphor⁠—a heaping bowl of ice cream representing the bloated cop budget being scooped into smaller, more appropriate departments—that honestly advocates for the ballot measure more effectively than some local groups have. B&J’s bold foray into the political discourse shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In July, co-founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield stood in solidarity with Palestine under an all-time great NYT headline: We’re Ben and Jerry. Men of Ice Cream, Men of Principle.

Why Does Minnesota Look Like That? 

Ya got the watery lil hat (Northwest Angle). Ya got the beachy horn (Arrowhead). Ya got that sexy 90-degree angle (southwest border). You got Minnesota, baby, but why in God’s name is it shaped the way it’s shaped? The Strib’s reader-submitted Curious Minnesota series addresses most of those Qs in its latest installment about how politicians and cartographers arrived at Minnesota. Although it omits entirely fucking over the people who already lived here, the article provides a nice border-by-boarder breakdown, including a harrowing account of how St. Paul almost ended up in Wisconsin. “People living in Stillwater, among other places, wanted to be left outside Wisconsin,” historian William E. Lass notes, perhaps with some editorialized sting.