Darnella Frazier was recognized by the prestigious jury for the cellphone recording of the arrest and subsequent death of the African American at the hands of the police for "the crucial role of citizens in the search for truth and justice."
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a "special mention" on Friday to the teenager whose video of the arrest and murder of African American George Floyd by a police officer sparked protests worldwide against racist violence.
Darnella Frazier, 18, was recognized at the prestigious 2021 Journalism Awards ceremony for her "brave" reporting on the May 2020 murder of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Frazier was recognized "for bravely recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that sparked protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists seeking truth and justice.", says the appointment.
Without Frazier's appearance, it is possible that the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police would have remained anonymous. She watched the endless minutes when Agent Derek Chauvin knelt on her neck until he took her life. And not only with his eyes: more importantly, with his cell phone, recording the video that was known all over the world.
On May 25, 2020, Darnella arrived at the Cup Foods convenience store with her 9-year-old cousin. They had gone to buy some snacks and found a shocking scene. She did not hesitate to take out her cell phone and disclose the police abuse. Video captured by Frazier (who was 17 at the time) shows Chauvin applying pressure with his knee to the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man. The image went viral and generated a commotion in the United States and the world, sparking massive protests against racism and police brutality.
Additionally, the staff of the Minneapolis Star Tribune received the award in the breaking news category for their coverage of Floyd's death and its aftermath. At the same time, The New York Times was honored with the Public Service Award for its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the jury of the awards, the newspaper, which closely followed the evolution of deaths and infections with a data system that was constantly updated, "filled an information gap and helped local governments, health providers, businesses and individuals to be better prepared."
The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service is considered the highest awarded by Columbia University to the journalistic work of the American media.
Online media BuzzFeed won its first Pulitzer, in the international reporting category, for its coverage of the prison camps built by China for the mass detention of Muslims.
Ed Yong of The Atlantic received the award for analytical reporting for a series of "lucid, definitive" articles on the covid-19 pandemic.
Reuters was awarded in the same category to analyze the legal doctrine of qualified immunity and how it is used to protect police from prosecution.
The AP won the Pulitzer for last-minute photographs. An AP photographer, Emilio Morenatti, received the award for reportage photography.