Darnella Frazier, the teenager who captured George Floyd’s last moments in footage that served as one of the most compelling pieces of evidence in his murder trial, celebrated Tuesday’s verdict and said she broke down hearing the jury’s decision.
“I just cried so hard,” she said in a Facebook post after the verdict. “This last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof.”
The 17-year-old, who also testified during the trial, said: “George Floyd we did it!! justice has been served.
“But to know GUILTY ON ALL 3 CHARGES !!! THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.”
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was charged with murdering Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, has been found guilty on all three counts, including second-degree murder.
The video recorded by Darnella sent shock waves across the globe after she uploaded the footage of his killing on social media and sparked momentous Black Lives Matter protests.
Large crowds gathered outside the heavily fortified courthouse erupted in cheers and cried as they celebrated the verdict, with shouts of: “Whose victory? Our victory!”
Darnella received widespread praise for recording the video which became a key piece of evidence.
The US president, Joe Biden, hailed her actions following the verdict, calling her a "brave young woman with a smartphone camera”.
Darnella was lauded for demonstrating courage, presence of mind and “perseverance in filming what she knew was wrong” by Pete Souza, a former White House photographer, who added: "This verdict does not happen without her."
"Without her bravery that prioritized George Floyd’s humanity over her own safety, this verdict may not have been possible," New York City mayoral candidate, Ray McGuire, said.
The video was played almost daily during the three-week-long trial and likely helped the jury in reaching its conclusion on the final day in under 11 hours that Chauvin was guilty.
During her testimony last month she said Floyd’s death had changed her life. She said she carried the guilt of not intervening when he was being pinned down by three officers.
"It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life, but it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he should have done," she had said.
Chauvin, who showed no emotion as the verdict was read, was handcuffed and taken into custody as he awaits sentencing. He faces up to 40 years in prison in the sentencing, in about eight weeks.
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