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Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed George Floyd’s murder, took a moment to reflect on Derek Chauvin’s conviction Tuesday afternoon, nearly a year after she recorded the fateful video.
“I just cried so hard,” Frazier wrote on Instagram after the verdict was announced. “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.”
Frazier also referenced Floyd himself, writing “George Floyd, we did it!! justice has been served.”
Frazier was just 17-years-old when she took out her cell phone and began to film May 25th interaction between Floyd and four Minneapolis Police officers. She captured Chauvin lodging his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds before Floyd became unresponsive.
A jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter Tuesday afternoon—the latest development in a case that has spawned protests across the world and ignited a social justice movement.
After the verdict was read, Frazier said her thoughts were with Floyd’s family.
“Although no amount of charges will bring back a loved one, justice was served and his murderer will pay the price. We did it,” she wrote.
But while Frazier’s thoughts were with Floyd’s loved ones, many, including Floyd’s own family, took the opportunity Tuesday to praise the teen for her heroic efforts in May to capture the interaction on video.
“The sad thing is if it hadn’t been for that 17-year-old girl Darnella, it would have been another Black man that was killed by the police…and they would have said, ‘Oh it was drugs, oh it was this,” Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrellson said according to CNN. “And we would never have had the story we would have. And we wouldn’t be here today talking.”
Oprah Winfrey also praised Frazier while reacting to the verdict on Tuesday.
“Relieved—and emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I’m grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies. Grateful to Darnella Frazier. Grateful to every Juror for seeing and acknowledging what the world saw on that tape. Thank you God for real,” Winfrey wrote on social media.
Actress Kerry Washington called Frazier a “hero.”
“Her bravery in that moment must never be forgotten,” Washington wrote on Twitter. “We lift you up Darnella.”
President Joe Biden also noted the teen’s efforts in his speech shortly after the verdict Tuesday, calling her a “brave young woman with a smartphone camera,” CBS News reports.
The North Carolina NAACP said Frazier's video will likely become an integral part of history, serving as an irrefutable piece of evidence of what transpired that day.
“Like the Abraham Zapruder film of the Assassination of President John Kennedy, the traditional police coverup was impossible,” they said in the statement. “No one, not even many of Chauvin’s police colleagues, could argue against Ms. Frazier’s film.”
They thanked her for her “courage” to film the deadly encounter.
It wasn’t the first time the Frazier's efforts have garnered national praise. She also received the 2020 Pen/Benenson Courage Award by literary organization PEN America in late 2020.
“With nothing more than a cell phone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in an October statement announcing the award. “With remarkable steadiness, Darnella carried out the expressive act of bearing witness, and allowing hundreds of millions around the world to see what she saw. 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.”
Frazier not only recorded the footage of Floyd’s death, she also provided powerful, emotional testimony for the prosecution during Chauvin’s trial this month.
“I heard George Floyd say, ‘I can’t breathe, please get off of me. I can’t breathe,’” she testified according to People. “He cried for his mom. He was in pain, and it was like he knew it was over for him.”
Frazier said at the time that she continued to be haunted by the images she saw and often lies awake “apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”
Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks and could face up to 40 years in prison for the most serious charge.
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