A teenager who recorded the murder of George Floyd in a clear and unrelenting single shot with her mobile phone has been recognised by the arbiters of the highest honours in US journalism.
The Pulitzer Board awarded Darnella Frazier a special citation for a video she said has haunted her ever since, showing Mr Floyd’s death beneath the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis policeman.
Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd in a trial during which Ms Frazier’s video was played repeatedly.
The citation at the 2021 Pulitzer Prize ceremony is a rare instance of the board recognising the journalistic achievement of someone with no professional experience in the field.
Ms Frazier, 18, was recognised for recording a “transformative video that jolted viewers and spurred protests against police brutality around the world”, Pulitzer Board co-chair Mindy Marques said at Friday’s online announcement ceremony.
Ms Frazier’s video shows Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, for about nine minutes while arresting him on suspicion of using a fake $20 bill on May 25, 2020.
Mr Floyd begged for his life before dying on the Minneapolis road.
Ms Frazier’s video is widely credited with bringing attention to a police killing that might otherwise not even have made the local news.
The Pulitzer Board called Frazier an example of “the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice”.