In the summer of 2020, Darnella Frazier recorded a video on her cell phone of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on a Black man’s neck. That man was George Floyd, whose tragic death sparked a wave of protests against police violence that dominated headlines last year.
Now, Frazier’s being honored with a special Pulitzer Prize citation (the Pulitzers are the ultimate form of recognition in the world of journalism) for documenting Floyd’s murder. Her special citation was announced (on Friday afternoon) by the organization, along with a statement that praised Frazier “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world highlighting the crucial role in citizens in journalistic quests for truth and justice.”
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) June 11, 2021
It’s rare for citizen journalists to be given this honor, and it comes just a couple of weeks after the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death. Frazier, who was just 17-years-old-when she recorded the event, posted a tribute on Instagram, detailing her experience on that day and how it changed her life forever.
She also testified during the trial against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Currently, Chauvin is awaiting sentencing, but he faces up to 40 years in prison if punished to the full extent of the law. Frazier’s video has galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, leading to calls for police reform across the country, something she should and does take pride in.
“Even though this was a traumatic, life-changing experience for me,” Frazier wrote in her post. “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 did put his murderer away and off the streets.”