Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the viral video of George Floyd's murder, reflected on witnessing his final moments and the impact it has had on her life in a powerful post on the anniversary of his death Tuesday.
"I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered," Frazier, now 18, wrote on Facebook. "I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power."
Frazier gave emotional testimony during the murder trial for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck until he died. Chauvin's conviction last month was due in part to the excruciating video the teenager recorded.
On May 25, 2020, Frazier was walking to Cup Foods with her 9-year-old cousin when she saw the 46-year-old Black man begging for air and saying, "I can't breathe." She wrote that it had been "just a normal day" for her and that she was "not even prepared for what [she] was about to see."
"It changed me," Frazier said in the post. "It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America."
She said she still holds "the weight and trauma" of what she witnessed one year ago and that while it's gotten easier to carry, it has changed her forever.
"A part of my childhood was taken from me," she wrote.
Frazier said she has had panic attacks and anxiety attacks and had trouble sleeping for weeks after Floyd's death. She and her family had to leave their home because they no longer felt safe with reporters at their door all the time.
After the jury found Chauvin guilty of all murder and manslaughter charges in April, hundreds of people replied to Frazier's social media posts and called her a hero. But on Tuesday, the 18-year-old said she doesn't see herself that way.
"Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day," Frazier wrote. "Everyone talks about the girl who recorded George Floyd‘s death, but to actually be her is a different story."
Still, she said, she is proud of herself, writing that if it weren't for her, "the world wouldn't have known the truth."
"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," she said. "I’ll always remember this day because of you. May your soul rest in peace."
Read her full statement here.