Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who captured video of police killing George Floyd, will be honored with a special award later this year from the literary and free expression organization PEN America.
Frazier, whose footage was shared around the world and proved key in the ensuing investigation into the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department officers, will receive the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award during a virtual gala on Dec. 8. In a statement, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel praised Frazier for her bravery.
"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," Nossel said Tuesday. "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."
Aside from brief comments given to the Star Tribune over the summer, Frazier hasn’t spoken publicly about the video. Kelley Bass, a PR specialist who is now helping Frazier’s family with the unexpected attention, said the 17-year-old is "humbled" by the award and "very grateful" to receive it.
Earlier this month, the third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was dropped, while the more serious charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter were upheld. Governor Tim Walz called the upholding of the more serious charges against Chauvin and the other involved officers an "important step toward justice" for George Floyd and his family.