One of the witnesses to George Floyd’s death is being showered with praise. Without her evidence, the verdict may have been different. Americans are heaping praise on the teenager who filmed Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes, suggesting her footage is “the only reason” the former police officer was found guilty of murder yesterday.
She used her phone to capture video of Chauvin as he held Mr. Floyd down for nine minutes and 29 seconds, ignoring the African-American man’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
Yesterday, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, deliberating for about 10 hours.
Chauvin has yet to be sentenced but faces a lengthy stint in prison.
Ms. Frazier’s footage featured heavily during the trial, and she was also among several witnesses who testified under oath. When she saw the confrontation between Mr. Floyd and the police officers, Ms. Frazier told her young cousin to enter the store instead of staying outside with her. Prosecutors asked whether she did so because there was something she didn’t want the girl to see.
“Yes. A man terrified, scared, begging for his life,” Ms. Frazier replied.
“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain.”
She grew emotional when she was asked to explain how the event had affected her life. Speaking through tears, Ms. Frazier said she had stayed up at night multiple times, apologizing to Mr. Floyd for not doing more to intervene. “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brother, I look at my cousins, my uncles. Because they are all black,” she said.
“I look at how that could have been one of them.
“It’s the nights I’ve stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting, not saving his life. “But it’s not what I should have done,” she added. “It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done.”It was Ms. Frazier’s footage that went viral around the world in the days after Mr. Floyd’s death, showing what really happened to him and exposing the gaps in an initial account released by the Minneapolis Police Department.
In the form of an innocuous media release, that account bore the headline “man dies after a medical incident during police interaction”. “On Monday evening, shortly after 8pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence,” it said.
“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his vehicle. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Centre by ambulance, where he died a short time later.
At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.
It went on to note that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had been called in to investigate the incident but made no mention of the fact that an officer had applied deadly force to pin Mr. Floyd on the ground.
Without the video footage, that account may never have been seriously challenged – point members of the Floyd family and senior public officials have stressed in the last 24 hours. Because of smartphones, so many Americans have now seen the racial injustice that black Americans have known for generations, that my parents protested against in the 1960s, that millions of us – Americans of every race – protested against last summer,” Vice President Kamala Harris said as she addressed the American people yesterday. President Joe Biden listed Ms. Frazier’s decision to film the murder as one of several “extraordinary” factors that led to Chauvin’s conviction.