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Teen Who Filmed George Floyd's Fatal Arrest To Receive 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The teen who sparked a global movement with her video of George Floyd's fatal arrest will receive a prestigious award for her courage.

PEN America, a literary and free expression organization, announced on Tuesday that Darnella Frazier will receive the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage award.

The 17-year-old high school senior used her cell phone to record video on May 25 of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, even after the handcuffed Black man pleaded for air.

"With nothing more than a cell phone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police," said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel.

"With remarkable steadiness, Darnella carried out the expressive act of bearing witness, and allowing hundreds of millions around the world to see what she saw," Nossel continued. "Without Darnella's presence of mind and readiness to risk her own safety and wellbeing, we may never have known the truth about George Floyd's murder."

Chauvin is facing a second-degree unintentional murder charge and a second-degree manslaughter charge. The other three former officers face charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

In September, PEN America announced that Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, would also receive the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage award.

Previous honorees include Anita Hill, activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Women's March, Flint, Michigan water contamination whistleblowers, and those who survived the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attack.

Frazier will be honored during a virtual gala on Dec. 8.

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