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Darnella Frazier has been hailed a hero.
The Minneapolis teen was among those who witnessed the deadly arrest of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who was killed at the hands of local police in May 2020. The then-17-year-old Frazier used her cellphone to record the deadly incident in which ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, despite Floyd’s repeated pleas to stop: “I can’t breathe!” Floyd was heard shouting as Chauvin and other officers pinned him to the ground. Floyd became unresponsive moments later and was transported to a county hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
Frazier immediately posted the footage on her Facebook, allowing the world to see officers’ heinous actions that resulted in Floyd’s death. The video was met with nationwide outrage, and reignited the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the calls to end police brutality. After days of unrest, Chauvin was arrested and ultimately charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; he was found guilty of all three charges Tuesday.
“I just cried so hard😩This last hour my heart was beating so fast,” Frazier wrote on Facebook in response to the verdict. “I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof. But to know GUILTY ON ALL 3 CHARGES !!! THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU😭🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽George Floyd we did it!!🥺❤️❤️❤️❤️justice has been served✊🏽”
Frazier was one of the prosecution’s witnesses who took the stand in Chauvin’s nearly three-week trial. She recalled the life-changing incident through tears, and said she wish she could’ve done more to help Floyd.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they’re all Black,” Frazier. “I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them … It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it’s like, it’s not what I should have done, it’s what he should have done.”
In wake of Chauvin’s guilty verdict, people across the world have taken to Twitter to thank Frazier for not only recording the incident, but making sure it was shared with the public. Many pointed out the Chauvin trial marked the first time a white Minnesota officer was convicted in the death of a Black civilian, and that the ex-officer may have never been held accountable if it hadn’t been for Frazier’s video.
You can read some of the messages for the teen below.