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Teen who filmed George Floyd’s dying moments is the ‘Rosa Parks of her generation,’ her lawyer tells Daily News

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 6/2/2020 Peter Sblendorio
a man wearing a uniform: In this Monday, May 25 frame from video provided by Darnella Frazier, a Minneapolis officer kneels on the neck of George Floyd, who was pleading that he could not breathe in Minneapolis. © Provided by New York Daily News In this Monday, May 25 frame from video provided by Darnella Frazier, a Minneapolis officer kneels on the neck of George Floyd, who was pleading that he could not breathe in Minneapolis.

The 17-year-old girl who recorded the moments leading up to George Floyd’s death is “the Rosa Parks of her generation,” her lawyer said.

Darnella Frazier pulled out her phone and recorded the video showing now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on the neck of Floyd, an African-American man, on May 25.

“I believe that Darnella is the Rosa Parks of her generation,” lawyer Seth B. Cobin told the Daily News Tuesday. “This is somebody who (is) totally innocent, totally unwittingly stumbled upon something, did the right thing ... (and) just realized, 'I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to stand up,” and it’s changed history."

Frazier, a high school junior, has been getting therapy for trauma since witnessing the incident and has been dealing with backlash from critics online who claim she didn’t do enough.

“It’s very traumatic for her,” Cobin said. “She’s really just this normal, incredibly likable teenager. She’s a high school student, and a very good one, too."

According to the lawyer, the teenager was just going down to the store with her cousin because her cousin wanted something from the store.

He said, "She was taking care of her 9-year-old cousin, and boom, she gets to be the witness to a murder. It’s very, very shocking to her. I’m amazed she had the presence of mind to pull out her phone and record it. But she’s dealing with a whole lot of psychological fallout from witnessing a terrible crime.”

Frazier and her family live around the corner from where Floyd was brought to the ground by police. They are currently staying in an undisclosed location elsewhere, Cobin said, as their neighborhood has been at the center of protests and unrest.

As the teenager was recording the shocking scene, Cobin said, "She didn’t know this was going to turn out to be a homicide. I believe she just thought this guy was being roughed up and treated improperly and wanted to record that, and when it escalated into a homicide, I think it really hit her how serious this was.”

The footage recorded by Frazier quickly went viral and prompted widespread outrage. Chauvin was charged last Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with a criminal complaint accusing him of kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers have been fired.

Parks, an African-American woman and civil rights activist, famously refused to give up her bus seat to white man in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., after being told by the driver to move to the back of the vehicle.

On Saturday, Frazier provided a witness statement to authorities with the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

“She did talk to the authorities about the fact that when she saw this happening, she pulled out her phone because she realized that if she didn’t do something, no one would believe that it had happened,” Cobin said. “That if she didn’t take pictures or record it in some way, who was going to believe this? This would just be another black person killed by the police with no repercussions.

An independent autopsy and an autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner each determined Floyd’s cause of death to be a homicide.

Cobin says he wants to see more serious charges for Chauvin, and for the other three officers to be charged.

He called Frazier "one of the bravest people on the planet."

“I think she feels good about having made a difference,” Cobin said. “I think she realizes that if she hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t have the powerful, powerful image that resulted in four police officers being fired very, very quickly.”


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