Pulitzer Prizes has awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the killing of George Floyd.
Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier was honored at a ceremony announcing the 2021 prestigious journalism awards for her video of Floyd’s May 2020 murder by a Minneapolis police officer.
Frazier was being recognized ‘for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice,’ the citation said.
The girl who was 17 at the time said she never intended to be a hero, and had no idea of the impact the video she recorded would have around the world.
Darnella was walking her nine-year-old cousin to get a snack at Cup Foods in Minneapolis on Memorial Day 2020 when she saw four officers pulling a black man from inside a vehicle.
Pulitzer Prizes has awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier, 18, the teenager who recorded the killing of George Floyd
Darnella attorney said she wasn’t looking to be a hero but is ‘just a 17-year-old high school student, with a boyfriend and a job at the mall, who did the right thing’
Darnella Frazier when they found Floyd pinned to the ground by Chauvin and two other police officers
Darnella (pictured) has spoken publicly about her now infamous recording on May 25, 2020 but the cameras were not permitted to film her and she was referred to only by her first name in court
‘She had no idea she would witness and document one of the most important and high-profile police murders in American history,’ Darnella’s attorney, Seth Cobin, told the Star-Tribune.
‘If it wasn’t for her bravery, presence of mind, and steady hand, and her willingness to post the video on Facebook and share her trauma with the world, all four of those police officers would still be on the streets, possibly terrorizing other members of the community.’
At the time, Darnella had no idea that her cell phone video would capture the action’s leading up to Floyd’s death, images that sparked worldwide protests and upended cities.
Cobin said Darnella wasn’t looking to be a hero but is ‘just a 17-year-old high school student, with a boyfriend and a job at the mall, who did the right thing. She’s the Rosa Parks of her generation.’
On the anniversary of his death, she posted a touching tribute to Floyd.
On the anniversary of his death, Darnella Frazier posted a touching tribute to George Floyd
‘A year ago, today I witnessed a murder. The victim’s name was George Floyd,’ she wrote in a Facebook post.
‘I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered. I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.’
She said witnessing the event and becoming known as the ‘girl who recorded George Floyd‘s death’ had been a heavy burden to bear.
‘A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one. I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.’
Frazier made a touching tribute to the man who she never met until that day, and whose life she had seen be extinguished.
‘I can’t express enough how I wish things could have went different, but I want you to know you will always be in my heart. I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace.’
Earlier this year, at the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Darnella testified that she started filming because she felt that what she was seeing ‘wasn’t right’.
Darnella asserted that Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck even harder as the growing crowd begged him to stop – and that he didn’t remove his knee even when paramedics were searching for a pulse.
Darnella said: ‘I heard George Floyd saying: ‘I can’t breathe, please get off of me.’ He cried for his mom and he was in pain.
More than a year has passed since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after now-convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. Pictured, the convenience store where the murder took place
‘It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified, he was suffering. This was a cry for help.’
When an ambulance finally arrived, Darnella claimed that paramedics treating Floyd had to tell Chauvin to remove his knee from the unconscious man’s neck.
‘The ambulance person had to actually tell him to lift up. He checked his pulse first while Chauvin’s knee still remained on Floyd’s neck,’ she said. ‘The paramedic did a ‘get up’ motion, basically telling him to remove his knee.’
Darnella has spoken publicly about her now infamous recording on May 25, 2020 but the cameras were not permitted to film her and she was referred to only by her first name in court.
At the close of her testimony Darnella broke down as she told jurors how witnessing and filming Floyd’s death affected her life.
‘When I look at George Floyd I look at my dad, I look my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all black,’ she said. ‘I have a black father, black brother, black friends and I look at that and I think how that could have been them.’
She also gave a brief comment to the Star-Tribune last year.
‘The world needed to see what I was seeing,’ she said at the time. ‘Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.’
Corbin said that she didn’t think twice before recording the incident when she saw the encounter between the police and Floyd.
‘Because police brutality is so common in that neighborhood, and the officers rarely face consequences, she pulled out her iPhone and started recording,’ he said.
Darnella is ‘doing well in terms of her outlook and attitude,’ said Cobin, who is based in Minneapolis. ‘She’s staying positive and avoiding the drama on social media.’
Cobin said Darnella ‘hasn’t received threats or anything like that’ but acknowledged she’s been the target of ‘trash talking and shade’ on social media since May 25.
Cobin verified the legitimacy of a GoFundMe page that was established by two women who previously had no connection to Darnella.
‘In addition to the trauma of watching a black man be murdered by police, she has had to deal with trolls, bullies and ignorant people harassing her online,’ they wrote on the fundraising page, which has raised more than $700,000.
‘It took unbelievable courage for her to stand there and bear witness to such an awful tragedy.’
Amural of George Floyd painted downtown to memorialize the life of George Floyd is shown on the anniversary of his death on May 25, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sparked protests and movements around the world
A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE FLOYD ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH
BY DARNELLA FRAZIER
1 year anniversary
A year ago, today I witnessed a murder. The victim’s name was George Floyd.
Although this wasn’t the first time, I’ve seen a black man get killed at the hands of the police, this is the first time I witnessed it happen in front of me.
Right in front of my eyes, a few feet away. I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered. I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.
I was only 17 at the time, just a normal day for me walking my 9-year-old cousin to the corner store, not even prepared for what I was about to see, not even knowing my life was going to change on this exact day in those exact moments… it did. It changed me.
It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America.
We shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around police officers, the same people that are supposed to protect and serve.
We are looked at as thugs, animals, and criminals, all because of the color of our skin.
Why are Black people the only ones viewed this way when every race has some type of wrongdoing? None of us are to judge. We are all human.
I am 18 now and I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago. It’s a little easier now, but I’m not who I used to be.
A part of my childhood was taken from me. My 9-year-old cousin who witnessed the same thing I did got a part of her childhood taken from her.
Having to up and leave because my home was no longer safe, waking up to reporters at my door, closing my eyes at night only to see a man who is brown like me, lifeless on the ground.
I couldn’t sleep properly for weeks.
I used to shake so bad at night my mom had to rock me to sleep.
Hopping from hotel to hotel because we didn’t have a home and looking over our back every day in the process.
Having panic and anxiety attacks every time I seen a police car, not knowing who to trust because a lot of people are evil with bad intentions.
I hold that weight.
A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one. I was just in the right place at the right time.
Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.
Everyone talks about the girl who recorded George Floyd‘s death, but to actually be her is a different story.
Not only did this affect me, my family too. We all experienced change. My mom the most.
I strive every day to be strong for her because she was strong for me when I couldn’t be strong for myself.
Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself.
If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that.
My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets.
You can view George Floyd anyway you choose to view him, despite his past, because don’t we all have one?
He was a loved one, someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, and someone’s friend.
We the people won’t take the blame, you won’t keep pointing fingers at us as if it’s our fault, as if we are criminals. I don’t think people understand how serious death is…that person is never coming back.
These officers shouldn’t get to decide if someone gets to live or not. It’s time these officers start getting held accountable.
Murdering people and abusing your power while doing it is not doing your job.
It shouldn’t have to take people to actually go through something to understand it’s not ok.
It’s called having a heart and understanding right from wrong.
George Floyd, I can’t express enough how I wish things could have went different, but I want you to know you will always be in my heart.
I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace.
May you rest in the most beautiful roses.
– Darnella Frazier