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Darnella Frazier, the brave young woman who filmed George Floyd’s dying moments at the hands of law enforcement, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Ms. Frazier, who was just 17 years old at the time of Mr. Floyd’s murder, captured former police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. 

The Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious award in journalism and the arts. The award has never before been given to a citizen for a cell phone video until now.

During the video, Ms. Frazier begged former officer Chauvin to stop killing Mr. Floyd, but her pleas to let Mr. Floyd live went unheeded. Former Officer Chauvin was later found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s death. Ms. Frazier’s video, shown widely across the globe, was the key to former officer Chauvin’s conviction. 

Video heavily influenced Chauvin’s conviction

In fact, Ms. Frazier’s video led to one of few cases in which a former law enforcement officer was found guilty of murder following the death of an innocent Black man at the hands of the police. Without Ms. Frazier’s video, it is unclear that former officer Chauvin would have been found guilty of the crime.

According to the Pulitzer Prize board, Ms. Frazier won the citation “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.” Other winners of the Pulitzer prize Special Citation include Alex Haley, Ida B. Wells, Duke Ellington, and Hank Williams. 

Ms. Frazier, who testified at former officer Chauvin’s trial, cried on the stand while recounting her experience witnessing Mr. Floyd’s murder. She stated that Mr. Floyd, an innocent Black man who repeatedly cried “I can’t breathe,” as he lay on the ground, could have been a relative or friend.

Along with her award, Ms. Frazier will receive $15,000 from the Pulitzer Prize board. Earlier this year, Ms. Frazier was also awarded the Courage Award from Pen/Berenson, a human rights organization, which also honored President Barack Obama. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

4 replies on “Darnella Frazier first to win Pulitzer for filming a police lynching”

  1. Of course Oklahoma made sure this could never happen here by making it illegal to video police brutality. The depravity of this state’s Republican Party is close to the top among a really racist bunch in AZ, Texas, and Georgia Trumplicans. As I understand it you can video but just don’t post it. If you do there is a massive fine. Free speech is allowed as long is no one can see you. And heavens sake don’t be videoing police while marching for social justice, then they just shortcut the punishment by running you over and snuffing out your free speech loving life. SIGN THE PETITION, repeal 816!

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