The teenager who filmed George Floyds death last year gets a special Pulitzer Prize. 18 year old Darnella Frazier, according to the jury, deserves the most important journalistic award for “a video that unleashed worldwide protests against police brutality”. The jury emphasises that the images “underline the importance of citizens in the search of journalists for truth and justice”.
Frazier was on the road with her 9-year-old nephew when she saw George Floyd being arrested in Minneapolis after he had issued a counterfeit banknote. She used her phone to capture Agent Derek Chauvins knee on the detainees neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds because he was struggling in the arrest.
The images made a deep impression all over the world. Police brutality is more common against black detainees, this time it was clearly seen how someone fought in vain for his life.
Agent Chauvin was found guilty of manslaughter earlier this year. Next Wednesday, he will hear his sentence, the prosecutors have demanded 30 years in jail.
Frazier, who largely avoided publicity since the incident, testified during the trial against Chauvin. She told news channel CBS that Floyds death also affected her life. She was traumatized by what she saw, slept badly and had panic attacks when she saw a police car.
“ I realized how dangerous it is to be black in the US,” said the teenager. “If I hadnt made this video, the world would never have known the truth. The footage couldnt save George Floyd, but they did make sure his killer is locked up.”
The coverage of Floyds death resulted in two other Pulitzer prizes: the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper won in the category of breaking news, press agency AP was awarded for photos of the protests that followed in American cities. Also an article about another murder of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, won a prize.
The main prize went to The New York Times for reporting the corona pandemic, which, according to the jury, “filled an information vacuum that could help local governments, healthcare providers, businesses and individuals be better prepared and protected”.