Teen who filmed George Floyd’s death speaks out: ‘It changed me’

Darnella Frazier described the lasting trauma and grief she’s faced: ‘I used to shake so bad at night my mother had to rock me to sleep’

A year after she recorded George Floyd’s murder on her cellphone, Darnella Frazier, now 18, released a public statement about her lasting grief over Floyd’s death, and how the trauma has affected her and her nine-year-old cousin, who also witnessed the murder.

“I used to shake so bad at night my mother had to rock me to sleep,” Frazier wrote in a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday, the anniversary of Floyd’s death.

In the statement, Frazier spoke of being traumatised by the experience – “a part of my childhood was taken from me”, she writes – but also proud of the critical role she played in igniting a global reckoning with racism and police violence.

“It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America.

“ …. Even though this was a life-changing traumatic experience for me, I’m proud of myself. If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that,” she continues.

“A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one. I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she recorded George Floyd's murder, says: "I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago. It’s a little easier now, but I’m not who I used to be. A part of my childhood was taken from me". #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/d0ZWvRcCqD

— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) May 25, 2021

Her entire family has been affected by the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, Frazier writes, describing “hopping from hotel to hotel because we didn’t have a home and looking over our back every day in the process”.

The comments represent some of her fullest yet on Floyd’s death. Frazier was only 17 when she filmed Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and the teenager has largely avoided the limelight.

Frazier testified at Floyd’s trial, saying the experience of watching Floyd die still haunted her and that she wished she had been able to do more to save him. “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,” she said in emotional court testimony.

At the time she described the verdict, which saw Chauvin convicted on three counts including murder in the second and third degree, as cathartic. “I just cried so hard,” she wrote on Facebook.


Lois Beckett

The GuardianTramp

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