Darnella Frazier Was Awarded a Pulitzer "Special Citation" for Her Recording of George Floyd's Murder
Nearly 11 months after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis, the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded with a guilty verdict. The former police officer was found guilty on three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder.
The trial commenced in late March of 2021, and dozens of witnesses testified in the weeks that followed before closing arguments were made on April 19.
One witness who has gotten a lot of attention online is Darnella Frazier, who took a video of George Floyd's arrest and subsequent death. The then-17-year-old posted the video to Facebook, and it was widely circulated on social media in the following weeks and months.
Darnella Frazier's video was integral during the trial, and she was one of the first witnesses to take the stand. After the guilty verdict was announced on April 20, many politicians, public figures, and online users discussed her impact on the case.
Given how central Darnella's video was to the trial — and to the ongoing conversations about police brutality in America — some are wondering: Has she been paid for her contribution?
Did Darnella Frazier get paid? A verified GoFundMe was set up in her honor.
In the wake of George Floyd's murder, the video that Darnella Frazier took provided an account of what happened. The teen was in the area with her nine-year-old cousin, and the two were going to the Cup Foods convenience store when they witnessed George Floyd's arrest. Darnella Frazier soon started recording it on her cellphone.
The video showed Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, which contrasted with the Minneapolis Police Department's initial news release on what transpired.
During her testimony in Chauvin's trial, Frazier expressed that she felt guilty for not physically intervening during George Floyd's arrest, and that she's been struggling with anxiety in the months since she took the video.
"It's been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life," she said on the stand, per The New York Times.
After she gave her account of what happened, Frazier received an outpouring of support online. Many users looked to provide support to her.
A verified GoFundMe page was set up in Darnella Frazier's honor back in May of 2020, but it's been receiving a lot of donations following her testimony. The fundraiser was set up by Angela Shelby and Mica Cole Kamenski on behalf of Frazier's mother, LaTangie Gillespie.
It was established to help Frazier with "peace and healing." The description for the page discussed the video that Frazier took, and the harassment that she has received online. It also noted that she is dealing with trauma as a result of what she saw.
"You can't put a price on a child's spirit," the page read. "This fund is to support the healing and the restoration of hope for Darnella Frazier —whatever that means to her. There are many places in the movement where your resources are needed. This is one of them. Thank you."
The official Twitter account for GoFundMe shared a link to the fund, and it verified that it is linked to Frazier.
"By hitting 'record' on her cell phone, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier may have changed the world... Here is the verified GoFundMe to bring 'peace & healing' to the brave teen who filmed George Floyd's final moments," the account's tweet stated.
Donations to this page are set to be transferred to a trust for Frazier. As of press time, more than $705,000 has been raised for her.
Darnella Frazier reacted to Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict.
After the guilty verdict was delivered Darnella Frazier took to her Facebook page to share her reaction to the news.
"I just cried so hard," she wrote in the afternoon on April 20. "This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof. But to know GUILTY ON ALL 3 CHARGES !!! THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. George Floyd we did it!! Justice has been served."
She later thanked those who supported her and who offered "beautiful comments."
Darnella Frazier also received a Pulitzer citation.
In June of 2021, Frazier received a Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize committee in recognition of her "video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice." It's unclear whether Frazier will be given any money as a result of the Special Citation (such as the $15,000 cash prize given to Pulitzer Prize winners). When Ida B. Wells was announced as the recipient of a Special Citation in 2020, the Pulitzer Prize board said it would donate at least $50,000 in support of her mission. There was no similar mention as part of this year's prize announcement.