Fierce

17-Year-Old Teen Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder is Receiving an Award for Her Bravery

Photos: PEN America handout photo via Darnella Frazier; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old bystander who recorded the death of George Floyd on her cell phone, is receiving an award for her bravery.

The award, called the PEN/Benenson Courage Award, is given to someone who exhibits exceptional bravery under the hardest of circumstances. Previous recipients include Anita Hill and the student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Photo: PEN America handout photo via Darnella Frazier

PEN America’s CEO Suzanne Nossel explained their decision to choose Frazier in a statement: “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.”

“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,” she continued. “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. We are proud to recognize her exceptional courage with this award.”

While millions of people have seen the horrifying video in which George Floyd was slowly killed by a police officer kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, not everyone knows who the person behind the camera was.

Frazier is an average 17-year-old high school student who enjoys playing volleyball and basketball. She loves fashion, singing, and debate. She was walking her cousin to the store when she saw the terrible scene in front of her that would eventually end up changing the world.

“I was the one that was recording the whole thing,” Frazier later said through tears in a NowThis video after re-visiting the scene the day after Floyd’s death. “I’ve seen him die. I posted the video last night, and it just went viral. And everybody’s asking me how I feel. I don’t know how to feel ’cause it’s so sad, bro. They killed this man and I was right there. I was five feet away. It’s so traumatizing.”

Frazier later faced intense criticism on the internet for not intervening when she saw Floyd being killed. At the height of the backlash, Frazier was forced to take to her Facebook page to defend herself.

“I don’t expect anyone who wasn’t placed in my position to understand why and how I feel the way that I do !! MIND YOU I am a minor ! 17 years old, of course I’m not about to fight off a cop I’m SCARED wtf,” she wrote. “The police most definitely would’ve swept it under the rug with a cover up story….That could’ve been one of your loved ones and you would want to see the truth as well.”

“Darnella Frazier took an enormous amount of flak in the wake of releasing the video,” Nossel recently told The Associated Press. “People were accusing her of being in it for the money, or for being famous, or were asking why she didn’t intervene…We wanted to go back and recognize and elevate this singular act.”

Through a family representative, Frazier said she was “humbled” and “grateful” to receive the award.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

Stephanie Keith / Getty

Updated April 7, 2021.

The opening statements of Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial took place in late March and revealed shocking details on the case of George Floyd. One of the biggest revelations came from the prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds rather than the commonly believed 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In addition to this, is the reveal that it was in fact a 911 dispatcher who witnessed George Floyd’s death last May.

Watching the incident through a nearby police camera, Jena Scurry was in fact the person who called the police on the police officer.

Jena Scurry is the dispatcher who first raised the alarm about Floyd’s death.

“You’re going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry,” special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell stated during an opening statement on behalf of the state “There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on. You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career.”

Watching what was happening, Scurry reportedly became so worried by what she saw Chauvin and the three other officers taking part in that she called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger. Ultimately it was Pleoger who managed the officers involved in the murder

“My instincts were telling me something was wrong,” Scurry explained to prosecutors that took place during the trial at Hennepin County Courthouse this past Monday. “It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn’t right.”

Scurry testified that while she could not remember when she called police she was moved to take action after an uncomfortable “extended period of time.” 

At one point, the defense noted that it took some time for Scurry to call Chauvin’s sergeant. In fact, it took nearly 30 minutes from when the dispatcher received the first 911 call about Floyd. She also stated during her testimony that she became concerned when she saw the police vehicle “rocking bath and forth” while Floyd was inside.

Scurry was actually one of “at least three people who called for police intervention as she watched Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds during his May 25 arrest outside a downtown convenience store, according to Blackwell,” according to CNN.

On the eighth day of Chauvin’s criminal trial, the special agent who led investigation into George Floyd’s death changed his mind on what he thought he heard Floyd say while Chauvin was kneeling on his neck.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd during his murder. In the clip, Floyd can be heard something while handcuffed, his stomach pressed to the ground.

“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs?” Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Reyerson.

“Yes, it did,” Reyerson replied.

After, what CNN describes as “a short break,” the prosecution played an extended clip of the video for for Reyerson.

“Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?” the prosecutoing attorney Matthew Frank asked.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,” Reyerson replied.

Top-ranking police officials from the Minneapolis Police Department, including the city’s police chief, testified that Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd was a violation of protocols.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, and Chauvin’s currently-retired former supervisor, Sgt. David Pleoger, testified against him this week during his murder trial for his murder of Floyd. Arradondo testified against Chauvin on Monday said that he “vehemently disagreed” with Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd on May 25, 2020.

“There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo told the jury. “But once there was no longer any resistance — and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless — to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone down, handcuffed behind their back … that in no way, shape, or form is part of our policy, is not part of our training, and is not part of our ethics and values.”

The prosecution team played bystander video of Floyd’s murder during the opening statement and accused Chauvin of violating the oath of his badge.

The prosecutor stated that he also betrayed his post when he refused to help Floyd when he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”

“We plan to prove to you that he’s anything other than innocent,” Blackwell said in his statement.

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