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Teen Who Recorded Murder of George Floyd Awarded Pulitzer Prize

Darnella Frazier was seventeen years old when a short trip to a convenience store with her younger sister would change their lives forever. On May 25, 2020, Frazier would become one of a cluster of witnesses to the murder of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Like the others, Frazier begged Chauvin to release the fatally asphyxiating compression he inflicted upon Floyd by using his knee to hold down Floyd’s neck. The incident lasted more than nine nightmarish minutes. Frazier recorded the scene that unfolded outside of Cup Foods on her cell phone.

Photo Courtesy of PEN America

The events of that day sparked an explosion of debates, marches, protests, and reforms to the way law enforcement operates that swept through the United States spread across much of the Western world.

And on Friday, Frazier was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her documentation of police brutality and the international movement that was born out of Floyd’s death.

“Congratulations,” the Pulitzer Prize Board tweeted.

But the prestigious recognition is unlikely to quell Frazier’s haunted memory anytime soon.

“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. But it’s like. It’s not what I should have done. It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done. I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” Frazier said at Chauvin’s two-week-long criminal trial.

On April 20th, after deliberating for only ten hours, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.

Chauvin will likely spend the rest of his life in prison serving out multiple sentences.



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