Darnella Frazier awarded Pulitzer Prize special citation for George Floyd video

She was just 17 when she filmed George Floyd's murder at 38th and Chicago.
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Darnella Frazier, whose video of George Floyd dying under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer helped spark protests around the world, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize special citation Friday.

Winners of the prestigious journalism awards were announced Friday, with Frazier – who was only 17 when she filmed Floyd's murder – receiving an honorary award. Here's what the awards organization wrote:

"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."

Frazier was at 38th and Chicago with her cellphone on May 25, 2020. During the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin this year, she testified the video “changed” her life and told the prosecution that she spent the days following the incident “apologizing” to Floyd for not being able to help.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s initial news release the day following the incident did not mention Chauvin’s neck restraint or the fact that Floyd was placed face down on the ground. The release stated Floyd died "after medical incident during police interaction" and that he had suffered “medical distress" after he "physically resisted officers."

It was Frazier's video, shared on social media, that quickly showed this was not the case.

Chauvin was found guilty of murder earlier this year.

On the one-year anniversary of Floyd's killing, Frazier wrote on social media: "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," Frazier said. 

The Star Tribune also received a 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."

Minnesota author, book publisher win Pulitzers

Pulitzer Prizes are also given out for books, drama and music.

Minnesota author Louise Erdrich was awarded the fiction Pulitzer for her novel The Night Watchman, about "a community’s efforts to halt the proposed displacement and elimination of several Native American tribes in the 1950s,"

And Natalie Diaz's poetry collection Postcolonial Love Poem, published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, won the poetry Pulitzer for her "tender, heart-wrenching and defiant poems that explore what it means to love and be loved in an America beset by conflict.

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