AL JAZEERA (June 11, 2021)
Darnella Frazier, the teenage bystander who shot mobile phone video of the killing of George Floyd, has received a special citation from the Pulitzer Prize board.
Frazier’s video was cited for “highlighting the critical role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice” by the Pulitzer board, whose annual awards are the most prestigious in American journalism.
Mindy Marques, the board’s co-chair, on Friday called Frazier’s video “transformative” explaining that it “jolted viewers and spurred protests against police brutality around the world”.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25, 2020, as he was being pinned to the ground by Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.
The video shot by the then-17-year-old Frazier, which showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds as Floyd said “I can’t breathe”, sparked a wave of protests, first in Minnesota and then nationwide.
Frazier testified at Chauvin’s murder trial in March saying that the sight of Floyd on the ground compelled her to stay: “It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain.”
“I’ve stayed up apologising and apologising to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” said Frazier. “It’s not what I should have done; it’s what [Chauvin] should have done.”
The coverage of Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests by the Minneapolis Star Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage. The breaking news prize for photography was shared by 10 Associated Press photographers for their coverage of the protests.