The teenage girl who filmed the murder of George Floyd says she is still traumatized by what she witnessed a year ago.
“It’s a little easier now, but I’m not who I used to be. A part of my childhood was taken from me,” Darnella Frazier, 18, wrote in a statement posted to her Facebook page Tuesday.
Floyd, a Minneapolis Black man, died a year ago on Memorial Day during an arrest. Frazier, then 17 years old, was visiting a local convenience store with her 9-year-old cousin when she saw ex-police officer Derek Chauvin and several other officers restraining Floyd on the ground. She recorded the incident on her cell phone as she and other bystanders pleaded with them to get off Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over 9 minutes. The former officer was found guilty last month of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers involved were also fired from the force and will stand trial in August.
Frazier’s cell phone recording was key evidence in Chauvin’s murder trial. Her testimony helped lead to a conviction.
“A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one,” she wrote Tuesday. “I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.”
For capturing the event that sparked months of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, Frazier was awarded the 2020 PEN/Berenson Courage Award in December from Oscar-winning director Spike Lee. But she has also dealt with a mistrust of police, panic and anxiety attacks. Frazier said she and her family had to stay in hotels because her home “was no longer safe.”
“Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself. If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that. My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets,” she wrote.
As she wished Floyd peace on the anniversary of his death, she called for police to be held accountable for “murdering people and abusing your power while doing it.”
“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,” Frazier wrote. “I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace. May you rest in the most beautiful roses.”
The Senate is currently negotiating a policing reform bill named for Floyd. George Floyd’s family met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the one-year anniversary of his death and pressed for movement on that package of reforms.
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