In the wake of mass outcry and protest over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, the person who brought his story to light is already experiencing harassment. Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who took the video of George Floyd being suffocated and killed by police on Monday, now says that she's facing a series of concerning messages online. Frazier took the video as proof of police brutality and the pain felt by thousands of people around the country, but is now the subject of some harassment as a result.
According to her Facebook page, Frazier has been receiving numerous questions about why she didn't fight off police for the duration of the 10 minute video depicting police kneeing Floyd in the neck. In her response, she says that she was scared as a 17-year-old to attempt to fight off any cops or help Floyd.
"I don't expect anyone who wasn't placed in my position to understand why and how I feel the way that I do," she wrote on Facebook.
Later in the post she explained that she didn’t get involved because she didn’t want anyone else to be killed or put in the same position as George and she feared how the police would further retaliate. “If it wasn’t for me 4 cops would’ve still had their jobs, causing other problems," she wrote. "The police most definitely would’ve swept it under the rug with a cover up story. Instead of bashing me, THANK ME! Because that could’ve been one of your loved ones and you would want to see the truth as well. Anyone with something negative to say pls block me. I’m not forcing you to watch me.”
The pain and trauma that Frazier addresses in her post has resonated with so many. In addition to what she’s now going through, she returned to the scene of the killing the day after George Floyd’s death looking visibly shattered. A video was captured and posted online by NowThis, showing Frazier saying, “I watched this man die,” while crying. In the video, she hugs other members of the community protesting in that same area.
“I posted the video last night and it just went viral,” she said through sobs, adding, “Everybody’s asking me how do I feel? I don’t know how to feel, ‘cause it’s so sad, bro. This man was literally right here at 8:00 pm yesterday. I was walking my cousin to the store, and I just see him on the ground and I’m like ‘What is going on?’” Ultimately, she ended her speech at the scene saying, “It is so traumatizing” while continuing to cry before putting her mask back on.
Beyond the harassment she’s receiving online, concerns have amounted over how Frazier's treatment fares against Ramsey Orta, the person who filmed Eric Garner's murder. Orta was subjected to police harassment that eventually landed him in prison — a price he paid for revealing the police brutality inflicted on Garner.
Now, advocates demand more protection for Frazier, who is a minor, and also witnessed a brutal police killing, saying that history cannot repeat.
Refinery29 has reached out to Darnella Frazier for comment. We will update this story as we know more.