On the evening of May 25 in Minneapolis, US, 17-year-old Darnella Frazer witnessed something that was going to change her forever. Three storefronts away from her, a black man named George Floyd was killed by policemen. She recorded the video of Floyd’s murder, which became key evidence through which the world witnessed, once again, the cruel face of America -a country that makes large claims of freedom and equality but stinks of pervasive institutionalized racism. On Friday, June 11, the official Twitter account of Pulitzer Prizes announced the 2021 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation award to Frazer. Frazer was awarded for recording the murder of Floyd, the Pulitzer Board said in a statement. According to Floyd’s relatives, Frazer’s video played a crucial role in the trial and conviction of the police officers, a report by The Guardian stated.
Floyd was a 47-year-old black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, United States. The police arrested Floyd after getting a complaint about him using counterfeit bills to purchase cigarettes from a store. A police officer named Derek Chauvin kept holding his knee on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes, leading to his death. He did not listen even though Floyd kept saying that he could not breathe. Floyd had not reacted violently to the police action, ruling out any justification for the police brutality. The officers were charged with various crimes. Chauvin was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Frazer, on the other hand, was deeply traumatized by the event and during her testimony, she said that she regretted that she could not save Floyd. Floyd’s murder spurred massive protests across America, leading to a number of changes on the level of the government. Joe Biden, who became US president in January 2021, said that the protests prompted America’s reckoning with racism, as per a Politico report.