The courage of Darnella Frazier, an 18-year-old who filmed the arrest and murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May 2020, has been rewarded. On Friday, June 11, she was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious awards for journalism in the United States.
The Pulitzer jury paid tribute to the one who had gone out that day to run a race and found herself by chance in front of the stage, for having “Bravely recorded the murder of George Floyd, a video that sparked protests against police brutality around the world”. This mention is a rare example of recognition of the journalistic achievement of a person without professional experience in this field, a distinction in the genre known as “Citizen journalism”.
“I didn’t know this man (…), but I knew his life mattered”, wrote Darnella Frazier on her Facebook page on the occasion of the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death on May 25. “It changed me, she continued. It changed my outlook on life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be black in America. “
“One day, our children will be able to be only children”, tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, of the NAACP, the leading organization for racial equality and the promotion of black minority rights in the United States. “In the meantime, let us reward their courage and their contribution to the manifestation of the truth. “
#DarnellaFrazier. How wonderful, extraordinary, and painful. Well done, Pulitzer Committee. One day our children wi… https://t.co/CpLwOkn80h
Darnella Frazier had testified, at the end of March, during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer since convicted of the murder of George Floyd, who can be seen leaning his knee on the back of the victim, lying on his stomach, for several minutes before that he does not lose consciousness. She had explained that for a long time she regretted not having intervened, “Not having saved his life”, before performing: “The question is not what I should have done, but what he [Derek Chauvin] should have done. “ The prosecution has requested 30 years in prison against Derek Chauvin, who will face his sentence on June 25.
Police violence in the spotlight
Beyond this special price, the 2021 promotion, the 105e of the history of the Pulitzer Prizes, has highlighted reports and articles devoted to the George Floyd affair itself but also to police brutality and abuses by the police, particularly against Afro- Americans.
In the “breaking news” category, it is the editorial staff of Minneapolis Star Tribune, local daily newspaper in the town where George Floyd was assassinated, which won it for its coverage “Urgent, reference and nuanced”.
Reuters was co-crowned in the explanatory journalism category for a multimedia project called “Shielded” which shows how a half-century-old case law protects American police officers from prosecution or conviction in many blunders.
In the area of local journalism, two journalists from Tampa Bay Times were honored for a series of articles on the practices of the Pasco County, Florida sheriff who abused his power by harassing people he believed could break the law.
Another major topic of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has won Pulitzer Prizes at New York Times, in the public service category, and to the journalist of the magazine The Atlantic, Ed Young, for explanatory journalism. Notably, the presidential campaign, the election, the transition and the events of January 6 are not among the subjects awarded.