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Minneapolis teen who recorded George Floyd’s fatal encounter with police to receive national courage award



A Minneapolis teen who documented George Floyd’s fatal encounter with police officers is slated to receive a national courage award for the video, which reignited global conversations about police brutality and systemic racism.

By the time Darnella Frazier hit record on her cell phone, 46-year-old Floyd was already begging for help. He was approached on Memorial Day by three officers who were attempting to arrest him for allegedly using a counterfeit bill at nearby store.

Frazier’s clip ends with Officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as other officers looked on. Once shared online, the video sparked a wave of protests, demanding justice not only for Floyd, but Breonna Taylor — who was shot and killed by police in Kentucky.

“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,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

PEN America in December will honor Darnella with the PEN/Benenson Courage Award. She’ll share the accolade with Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out by the Trump administration.

Frazier has yet to speak publicly about her role in sharing Floyd’s death with the world aside from what she told the Star Tribune the following day.

“The world needed to see what I was seeing,” she said. “Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.”