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.

Contributor

Lois Beckett

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
‘I cried so hard’: the teen who filmed Floyd’s killing, and changed America
Darnella Frazier’s video of Floyd gasping for air became a key piece of evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin

Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco

21, Apr, 2021 @3:34 AM

Article image
‘My brother got justice’: George Floyd’s family praises guilty verdict
Members of George Floyd’s family have become leaders in the movement sparked by his death

Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco

21, Apr, 2021 @1:45 AM

Article image
Minneapolis celebrates George Floyd’s life after a ‘troubling, long year’
Residents gathered across the city to honor Floyd and other victims of police violence, and vowed to hold officers accountable

Amudalat Ajasa in Minneapolis

26, May, 2021 @1:15 AM

Article image
Derek Chauvin: ex-officer convicted in George Floyd’s murder asks for new trial
Attorney Eric Nelson alleges prosecutorial and jury misconduct and errors of law at trial and says the verdict was contrary to law

Guardian staff and agency

04, May, 2021 @11:49 PM

Article image
Teen who filmed killing tells court George Floyd was 'begging for his life'
Darnella Frazier said Derek Chauvin did not ease up as he pinned Floyd down and that she still loses sleep over the killing

Chris McGreal

31, Mar, 2021 @1:36 AM

Article image
Derek Chauvin trial: top crime scene investigator into George Floyd’s death testifies – as it happened
Day eight of murder trial over George Floyd’s death continues in Minneapolis

Oliver Laughland

07, Apr, 2021 @10:19 PM

Article image
George Floyd's daughter and her mother make first public appearance
Roxie Washington tells crowds she wants justice for Floyd as protests defy curfew across US

Vivian Ho and Maanvi Singh in Oakland and Ankita Rao in New York

03, Jun, 2020 @4:46 AM

Article image
Minneapolis: journalists teargassed while covering George Floyd protests
Teargas fired ‘at point-blank range’ at group that identified themselves as journalists as police worked to impose curfew

Sam Levin in Los Angeles

31, May, 2020 @3:50 AM

Article image
Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder of George Floyd
Jury finds ex-Minneapolis police officer, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, guilty on all counts

Chris McGreal, Lois Beckett, Oliver Laughland and Amudalat Ajasa in Minneapolis

21, Apr, 2021 @7:42 AM

Article image
Dispatch from Minneapolis: the night the city cracked down on George Floyd protests
Protesters who refused to obey the curfew Saturday faced teargas, flash bombs and baton rounds from police

Chris McGreal in Minneapolis

31, May, 2020 @7:26 AM