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Darnella Frazier, who filmed George Floyd's killing on her cellphone last year, has stayed out of the spotlight since her footage went viral and sparked a racial reckoning around the world. But yesterday, on the first anniversary of Floyd's death by police, the 18-year-old released a powerful statement reflecting on that pivotal, traumatic moment, which made her "realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America."
"A year ago, today I witnessed a murder," she wrote in a Facebook post. "The victim’s name was George Floyd. Although this wasn’t the first time, I’ve seen a black man get killed at the hands of the police, this is the first time I witnessed it happen in front of me. Right in front of my eyes, a few feet away. I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered. I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power."
Frazier said she was 17 at the time, accompanying her nine-year-old cousin to the corner store when they came across the police assaulting Floyd in Minneapolis last May. She still carries "the weight and trauma" of what she witnessed a year on. "A part of my childhood was taken from me," she wrote.
Frazier and her family had to leave home—it was "no longer safe" with reporters knocking on their door—and moved between hotels.
"I couldn’t sleep properly for weeks," she said of how witnessing Floyd's death affected her well-being. "I used to shake so bad at night my mom had to rock me to sleep. Hopping from hotel to hotel because we didn’t have a home and looking over our back every day in the process." She also experienced panic and anxiety attacks whenever she saw a police car.
"A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one," Frazier explained. "I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day. Everyone talks about the girl who recorded George Floyd‘s death, but to actually be her is a different story."
Frazier, who testified at the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's death, acknowledged, "If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that. My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets."
She closed with a heartfelt message to Floyd. "George Floyd, I can’t express enough how I wish things could have went different, but I want you to know you will always be in my heart. I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace."
Read Frazier's full post below.
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