Darnella Frazier recorded a 10-minute video of Floyd being pinned by police. Still, Frazier's award says a lot about how phones have enabled citizen journalism in recent years.
Frazier's video showed Floyd struggling under the knee of then-Officer Derek Chauvin for more than eight minutes as he struggled to breathe.
Chauvin was later convicted of murder and manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd's death. Chauvin, who is being held in solitary confinement at a Minnesota prison, is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.
Darnella Frazier, now 18, was awarded the citation for her courage, the Pulitzer committee said. The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts recognize the best work in a year in which people isolated themselves because of a deadly pandemic and took to the streets over racial injustice.
The citation went on to note how her recording worked to highlight the "crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice".
PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said at the time: "With nothing more than a cellphone 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". Floyd later died at an area hospital, according to police.
Floyd's murder took a personal toll on Frazier, who described her ongoing trauma around witnessing his killing on Instagram. All four officers are also charged with violating Floyd's civil rights.
"When I look at George Floyd I look at my dad, I look at my brother, my cousins, my uncles - because they are all black", she said, audibly crying.