Darnella Frazier, the then-17-year-old who recorded former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, has spoken out about what she witnessed. Today is the one year anniversary of Floyd’s death.
“A year ago today, I witnessed a murder,” the post began. “The victim’s name was George Floyd. Although this wasn’t the first time, I’ve seen a black man get killed at the hands of police, this is the first time I witnessed it happen in front of me…I knew that he was in pain. I knew he was another black man in danger with no power.” Frazier was called upon to testify during Chauvin’s trial wherein the fired officer was found guilty.
“I was…not even prepared for what I was about to see, not even knowing my life was going to change on this exact day in those exact moments,” the 18-year-old added. “It changed me. It changed how I view life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America…We are looked at as thugs, animals, and criminals, all because the color of our skin.” Frazier also revealed that a young family member of hers was also present when Floyd was murdered. “My 9-year-old cousin, who witnessed the same thing I did, got a part of her childhood taken from her.”
In 2020, Frazier was presented the Benenson Courage Award from PEN America by filmmaker Spike Lee. “I’m so proud of my sister,” Lee said during the virtual ceremony. “She documented the murder of George Floyd — our brother, King Floyd — and that footage reverberated around this God’s earth, and people took to the streets.” She also received public thanks from Sen. Cory Booker and Anita Hill.
Frazier closed her statement by writing, “George Floyd, I can’t express enough how I wish things could have went different, but I want you to know you will always be in my heart. I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace. May you rest in the most beautiful roses.”