World hails teen Darnella Frazier who filmed Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd

Harriet Brewis
Wednesday 21 April 2021 09:03
news

Tributes have been paid to the teenager Darnella Frazier for her pivotal role in ensuring justice for George Floyd.

The then 17-year-old from Minneapolis was walking down the street with her nine-year-old cousin when she witnessed Floyd being restrained by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 last year.

Filming the ordeal on her camera phone, she captured the harrowing final moments of Floyd’s life where he begged Chauvin to stop kneeling on his neck because he “couldn’t breathe”.

On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty of all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

As celebrations erupted across the US and beyond, admirers were quick to recognise Frazier’s invaluable contribution to the verdict.

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Oprah Winfrey was among the scores of social media users to express gratitude towards Frazier for allowing jurors – and the world – to “see and acknowledge” what was on that tape.

Here are just some of the messages written in recognition of the teen’s bravery:

Many have taken the opportunity to highlight a fundraising page set up to support Frazier through her ongoing trauma.

Testifying during the trial, the teen told the court that she’s stayed awake on many nights “apologising and apologising to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”

The “Peace and Healing for Darnella Fund” aims to “support the healing and restoration of hope for Darnella – whatever that means to her.”

Its creator Mica Cole Kamenski said in a GoFundMe statement: “The brave young woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd, deserves peace and healing.

“In addition to the trauma of watching a black man be murdered by police, she has had to deal with trolls, bullies and ignorant people harassing her online.

“It took unbelievable courage for her to stand there and bear witness to such an awful tragedy. We all have our roles to play in the revolution against white supremacy. Darnella played an important one and should be uplifted, not shamed.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Frazier’s footage was at the heart of Chauvin’s conviction.

Following Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a statement saying the 46-year-old died because of a medical episode.

The police report said he was in “medical distress” when he was placed in handcuffs and insisted no weapons were used during his encounter with police.

There was no mention of one of the officers kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Scores of people have re-shared the document in the wake of the guilty verdict, proving how difficult it would have been to prove the cause of Floyd’s death without the hard evidence provided by the bold young bystander.

Late last year,  the literary and free expression organisation PEN America honoured the now 18-year-old with its award for courage.

She was lauded for her “remarkable steadiness” and for allowing “hundreds of millions around the world to see what she saw”.

The organisation said: “Without Darnella’s presence of mind and readiness to risk her own safety and wellbeing, we may never have known the truth about George Floyd’s murder.”

Following Tuesday’s verdict Frazier shared her gratitude that “justice has been served”.

She posted on Facebook:

She added in a comment: “I can’t reply to all of your beautiful comments as I wish to, but THANK YOU, all of you!

“The support I had since day one carried me a long way so thank you all again, thank you.”

It is the world who should be thanking you, Darnella.

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