Teen who recorded killing of George Floyd awarded Pulitzer Prize special citation

U.S.

FILE – This May 25, 2020, file image from a police body camera shows bystanders including Alyssa Funari, left filming, Charles McMillan, center left in light colored shorts, Christopher Martin center in gray, Donald Williams, center in black, Genevieve Hansen, fourth from right filming, Darnella Frazier, third from right filming, as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes in Minneapolis. To the prosecution, the witnesses who watched Floyd’s body go still were regular people — a firefighter, a mixed martial arts fighter, a high school student and her 9-year-old cousin in a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Love.” (Minneapolis Police Department via AP, File)

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — The teenager whose video documenting the death of George Floyd set off a global movement over racial injustice has been awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Prizes.

The Pulitzer Prizes committee recognized Darnella Frazier,“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,” according to a statement.

Frazier was 17 when she recorded Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020.

While testifying at the trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, Frazier said she was walking to buy snacks at the Cup Foods convenience store with her younger cousin when she came upon the officers.

“I see a man on the ground, and I see a cop kneeling down on him,” Frazier said. “A man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”

Frazier testified that she began recording the scene because, “it wasn’t right, he was suffering, he was in pain.”

Chauvin was found guilty on all charges, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, on April 20.

“It’s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” Frazier said in her testimony. “But it’s like, it’s not what I should’ve done, it’s what [Chauvin] should’ve done.”

The other officers involved, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, are scheduled to face trial next March on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. 

“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…I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered.” Frazier wrote on the one year anniversary of the killing. “It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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