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 race and found herself by chance in front of the stage, for having “Courageously recorded the murder of George Floyd, a video which sparked protests against police brutality around the world”. This mention is a rare example of recognition of journalistic achievement by someone without professional experience in this field, a distinction achieved in a genre known as “Citizen journalism”.
“I did not know this man (…), but I knew that his life counted”, 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 later convicted of the murder of George Floyd. We see him resting his knee on the back of the victim, lying on his stomach, for several minutes, before the latter loses consciousness. Mme Frazier explained that he regretted for a long time not having intervened, “Not to have saved his life”, before realizing that “The question is not what [qu’elle] should have done, but what he [Derek Chauvin] should have done. “ The prosecution has requested thirty 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 history of the Pulitzer Prizes, has highlighted reports and articles devoted to the George Floyd affair itself, but also, more generally, to police brutality and abuses by the police, particularly to the against African Americans.
In the “news” category (breaking news), it is the drafting of Minneapolis Star Tribune, local daily newspaper in the city where George Floyd was murdered, which won, 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 smear cases.
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 Covid-19 pandemic has won Pulitzer Prizes in New York Times, in the public service category, and to the journalist of the magazine The Atlantic, Ed Young, in that of explanatory journalism. Notably, the presidential campaign, the election, the transition and the events of January 6 were not among the subjects awarded.
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Journalism: a special Pulitzer Prize awarded to the young woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd