Teen who recorded video of George Floyd's death recognized by Pulitzer board

Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded a comprehensive video of the killing of George Floyd last May, was recognized on Friday by The Pulitzer Prize board.

Frazier, who was 17 at the time of the incident, was awarded a special citation for "courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice," the organization said.

Frazier also testified during the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

"He was in pain," Frazier said of Floyd during her testimony. "It seemed like, he knew ... he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help."

The teen made a now-famous 10-minute cellphone video capturing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was in police custody on May 25, 2020. A Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted on June 14, 2020, found that 79% of Americans said they had seen the video.

On the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death, Frazier released a statement about what she witnessed and how it changed her.

"I am 18 now and I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago," she said. "It's a little easier now, but I'm not who I used to be. A part of my childhood was taken from me."

Frazier also was honored last year by PEN America, the literary and human rights organization, with the PEN/Benenson Courage Award for actions.

In addition to Frazier, the Pulitzer Prize board this year recognized other work covering the killing of Floyd.

The staff of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting "for its urgent, authoritative and nuanced coverage of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and of the reverberations that followed," the board said. The photography staff of The Associated Press also was honored for Breaking News Photography "for a collection of photographs from multiple U.S. cities that cohesively captures the country's response to the death of George Floyd."

Here's the full list of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism:

  • Public Service: The New York Times
  • Breaking News Reporting: Staff of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Investigative Reporting: Matt Rocheleau, Vernal Coleman, Laura Crimaldi, Evan Allen and Brendan McCarthy of The Boston Globe
  • Explanatory Reporting: Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts of Reuters; Ed Yong of The Atlantic
  • Local Reporting: Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi of the Tampa Bay Times
  • National Reporting: Staffs of The Marshall Project; AL.com, Birmingham; IndyStar, Indianapolis; and the Invisible Institute, Chicago
  • International Reporting: Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News, New York
  • Feature Writing: Mitchell S. Jackson, freelance contributor, Runner's World; Nadja Drost, freelance contributor, The California Sunday Magazine
  • Commentary: Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch
  • Criticism: Wesley Morris of The New York Times
  • Editorial Writing: Robert Greene of the Los Angeles Times
  • Breaking News Photography: Photography Staff of Associated Press
  • Feature Photography: Emilio Morenatti of Associated Press
  • Audio Reporting: Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little of National Public Radio
  • Special Awards and Citations: Darnella Frazier
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