A jury of 12 brought justice for George Floyd, but a brave, quick-thinking 17-year-old girl with a cellphone made it possible. To grasp the power of Darnella Frazier’s spontaneous documentation of a murder in progress, one need only read the initial description of the tragedy by Minneapolis police. Here’s the press release:

Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction

May 25, 2020 (MINNEAPOLIS) On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, 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.

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 car.  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 Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.

At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department.

No officers were injured in the incident.

Without Frazier’s video, in which the world witnessed then-police officer Derek Chauvin murder Floyd by grinding his knee on the neck of his handcuffed victim for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the antiseptic official account would likely stand as the official record. George Floyd wouldn’t be a household name and Chauvin would still be a public menace with a badge and gun.

Instead, Floyd’s death galvanized millions to stand against the lethal systemic racism and prejudiced policing that makes Black and brown Americans perpetual suspects in their own country.

Chauvin was convicted of three counts of murder and will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison.

Floyd will be dead forever. Chauvin got off easy. 

He may have gone free if not for a brave, quick-thinking  17-year-old girl with a cellphone who caught him in the act and came forward with the evidence that convicted him.

Darnella Frazier could have looked away. Because she didn’t, the world couldn’t, either.