Darnella Frazier — the teen who used her smartphone to film the video of the George Floyd murder in May 2020 that sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests worldwide, culminating in the murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin — gets a special mention from the Pulitzer board.
Frazier was subpoenaed for “boldly recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that sparked protests against police brutality around the world and highlighted the critical role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.” according to the Pulitzer Board.PDF).
Frazier’s video, watched by millions, unleashed one of the largest protest movements in US history, demonstrating how a camera-enabled smartphone can be a powerful tool to capture police brutality and racial injustice.
Frazier was 17 when she filmed the video and uploaded it to Facebook. She also testified at Chauvin’s trial, a trial that ultimately resulted in a historic conviction: “the first time in Minnesota history that a white police officer was convicted of killing a black civilian on the job.” according to the Star Stand. (The Star Stand was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Friday for his coverage of Floyd’s death and what followed.)
“Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself,” Frazier said in a statement on the anniversary of Floyd’s death. “If it wasn’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 killer off the street.”