Darnella Frazier’s bravery in recording the final moments of George Floyd’s life in May 2020 will forever be monumental. However, on the anniversary of Floyd’s tragic death, Frazier, now 18, says the experience still haunts her.
On Tuesday, May 25, Frazier took to her social media platform where she reflected on Floyd’s murder by then-Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in a post captioned, “This is my truth. 1 year anniversary. Rest in peace to George Floyd.🖤🖤🖤”
The young woman expressed that although this was the first time she’d 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.” She added, “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.” Frazier voiced that watching Floyd die changed her perspective on life, stating, “It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America.”
She was 17 when she recorded Floyd taking his last breaths, and a year later she writes, “I am now and I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago.” She continued, “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.”
Frazier later described the changes that have taken place since the incident, saying that she had to move because her home was no longer safe from reporters. “Hopping from hotel to hotel because we didn’t have a home and looking over our back every day in the process,” she added. Still, she seemingly doesn’t regret the role she took. “Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself,” she wrote. “If it weren’t for my video, they wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that. My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it pt his murderer away and off the streets.”
Last month a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. He is currently being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day at a Minnesota state prison as he awaits sentencing. The 45-year-old faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Frazier spoke directly to Floyd in the final lines of her statement, stating, “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.”
Supporters flooded her comment section thanking Frazier for her courage to capture the moment that sparked global protest against police brutality and injustice. “So beautifully written,” one Instagram user wrote, “If it wasn’t for your video, Derek Chauvin wouldn’t be sitting in jail right now. We love you and have your back and we’re so proud of your courage, beautiful girl!!❤️❤️You changed the world!!!” Another person commented, “Mama, I’m not sure if you can even comprehend the magnitude of your bravery yet! Thank you!”
“We are so grateful for you!❤️ Be kind to yourself,” expressed a third. “Get help when you need it. Lean on others so we can return the favor. Virtual hugs sweet girl. 🤗🙏🏼.”
Several GoFundMe accounts have since been created for Frazier after many online users expressed interest in helping her and her family through these difficult times. One, in particular, created on May 30, 2020, has a goal of $1 million, with over $703,000 already raised. The GoFundMe has seen a spike in the last day or so with many posting the link on Twitter in response to @WesleyLowery and others who shared Frazier’s full statement. One Twitter user asked directly, “How can we help her?”
The account, labeled “The OFFICIAL Peace and Healing for Darnella Fund,” lists Mica Cole Kamenski and Angela Shelby as the organizers on “behalf of LaTangie Gillespie,” Frazier’s mother and sole beneficiary of the funds, since at the time it was set up Frazier was still a minor. According to the updates, Kamenski and Shelby appear to be transparent about the fund’s dealings and their work with Frazier’s mother. A Trust fund was also established in Frazier’s name at Bremer Bank, NA. The description stated proceeds from the GoFundMe fundraiser would continue to be transferred to the trust.