Teen who recorded George Floyd death on phone to receive PEN award

Protesters lit building on fire to demand justice for the killing of unarmed black man, George Floyd (Photo: New York Times)

The teenager who recorded the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May will be honoured in December by PEN America, the literary and human rights organisation.

Darnella Frazier will be presented the PEN/Benenson Courage Award.

“We wanted to go back and recognise and elevate this singular act.”

– PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel

“With nothing more than a cell phone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement Tuesday.

The 17-year-old Frazier will share the Courage Award with Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out by the Trump administration.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, PEN had postponed its annual gala from May 19, six days before Floyd’s death, to December 8, and will host the event online.

“Darnella Frazier took an enormous amount of flak in the wake of releasing the video,” Nossel told The Associated Press. “People were accusing her of being in it for the money, or for being famous, or were asking why she didn’t intervene. And it was just left this way. We wanted to go back and recognise and elevate this singular act.”