MINNEAPOLIS — One year ago, Darnella Frazier wasn't known by many.
She was a Minneapolis teen who was simply walking with her 9-year-old cousin to get some snacks at a nearby grocery store.
When Darnella arrived at Cup Foods that day, she not only witnessed George Floyd's last moments before he was murdered under the knee of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, but she captured it on video with her cellphone. And shared it on social media for the world to see.
That video, along with her powerful testimony during Chauvin's trial, proved to be one of the biggest pieces of evidence used to convict the former officer.
On Tuesday, the one year anniversary of Floyd's death, Darnella, like so many others, reflected on that day. However, Darnella has a much different perspective. She didn't see Floyd's murder on social media, she saw it in person.
"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," Darnella wrote in part in a Facebook post.
Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges – second and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter – and Darnella's video was a big reason why.
It showed Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck and allowed expert witnesses an opportunity to examine the incident frame by frame to fully explain every moment that led to Floyd's death.
Some jurors said they hadn't seen the video leading up to the trial, but the video was shown several times throughout the trial as a key piece of evidence. Multiple experts broke down the video to give the jury a complete understanding of what occurred.
But to Darnella, this video wasn't just a piece of evidence.
"I was only 17 at the time, just a normal day for me walking my 9-year-old cousin to the corner store, not even prepared for what I was about to see, not even knowing my life was going to change on this exact day in those exact moments... it did. It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America," Darnella's post read.
Darnella went on to describe the trauma, saying she would have "panic and anxiety attacks every time I seen a police car," as well as the difficulties of living in the spotlight. She wrote about the toll it's taken on her family and how she tries to stay strong for her mother.
"Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself," she wrote.
While Darnella didn't know Floyd, the two will forever be connected.
"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," Darnella wrote. "I’ll always remember this day because of you."
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