Another week upon us and I need some good news to get things pumping, and I found it in Darnella Frazier.
She was the young woman who recorded a police officer, aided and abetted by other police officers, murder George Floyd. She stood on that sidewalk with her cell phone filming the entire gruesome vile episode in one single shot, and I believe it was her video that most convinced the jury to find Derek Chauvin guilty of murder.
And now the Pulitzer Board—yes, that Pulitzer—has given Darnella Frazier a special citation for the video that she says has haunted her since that day in May last year. The citation at the 2021 Pulitzer Prize ceremony is a rare instance of the board recognizing the journalistic achievement of someone with no professional experience in the field, something dubbed “citizen journalism”. The Pulitzer Board called Darnella Frazier an example of “the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice” and recognized her recording as a “transformative video that jolted viewers and spurred protests against police brutality around the world.”
And finally held a police officer fully accountable in the murder of a Black American.
Her video has been compared to the video—made by George Holliday—of Rodney King being beaten by LA police officers during a 1991 traffic stop, and the video of a New York City police officer—filmed by Ramsey Orta—choking Eric Garner to death for celling “loose” cigarettes.
Darnella Frazier was also awarded the 2020 Benenson Courage Award from PEN America, presented to her by filmmaker Spike Lee.
On the first anniversary of Floyd’s murder, Darnella Frazier wrote about the lingering trauma in a message on Facebook.
“A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one. I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.”
Darnella Frazier, in her own way, has started a healing in this country and so, yeah, I’d call her a hero.