Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, has been awarded a Special Citation Pulitzer Prize.
The Pulitzer Prize Board met at Columbia University on June 7 and 8 to select the 2021 winners and announced the recipients on Friday, June 11. Frazier, now-18, was 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.”
Frazier, who was 17 at the time of recording Floyd’s death, recently opened up about the “traumatic life-changing experience.”
“I am now and I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago.” she shared in a lengthy social media post on the one-year anniversary of the incident, “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.”
“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, 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.”
Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in April after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes last year on May 25. He is scheduled for sentencing on June 25 and faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
According to their website, the Pulitzer board is “composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia Journalism School and the administrator of the Prizes are nonvoting members.”
Frazier has not commented on her prize at the time of this writing but joins a list of notable figures who were awarded a Special Citation in years past including Ida B. Wells, Hank Aaron, Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, and Alex Haley.