Minneapolis will hire six social media influencers for $2000 each to help spread city-approved messaging during the upcoming murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-policeman charged in the death of George Floyd, Fox News reported on Sunday.
The strategy is part of a $1 million communications and de-escalation plan that the Minneapolis City Council approved unanimously on Friday that also includes partnering with community leaders during Chauvin’s trial, which is scheduled to begin in March, as well as the August trial of three other former officers charged in Floyd’s death.
“The goal is to increase access to information to communities that do not typically follow mainstream news sources or city communications channels and/or who do not consume information in English,” the council said in a statement, WCCO-TV reported. “It’s also an opportunity to create more two-way communication between the city and communities.”
Chauvin is charged with murder in Floyd’s May 25 death in police custody last May. Jury selection is scheduled to begin March 8, with opening arguments due to get started no earlier than March 29, the New York Post reported.
There other former policemen are scheduled to stand trial separately on charges of aiding and abetting murder.
The death of Floyd sparked global Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including violent clashes with police and looting.
Some activists criticized the plan to hire social media influencers, with Toussaint Morrison saying he is concerned about bias behind information that will come from a city-funded influencer, WCCO-TV reported.
“The key word here is ‘city-approved’,” said Morrison. “What do you think the message is going to be? It’s going to be pro-city, it’s going to be anti-protest.”
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