City of Minneapolis drops plan to hire social media influencers ahead of George Floyd death trials

Tommy Wiita
Updated: March 01, 2021 01:52 PM
Created: March 01, 2021 01:45 PM

Minneapolis city officials convened during a Zoom call Monday morning to go over public safety preparations for the Derek Chauvin trial, which is set to begin next week.

During the meeting, it was announced that the city will be dropping its plan to pay social media influencers for sharing city-approved messages during the trial. The city originally planned on paying six social media influencers, all coming from various minority communities, $2,000 each during Chauvin's and the remaining three former Minneapolis police officers' trials that will take place later in the year.

"At this point, we will not move forward with this strategy," said David Rubedor, director of the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department for the city of Minneapolis. "While I believe in and support the intention of this recommendation, we have seen that the impact has caused harm in our communities. And for that, I am sorry."

City Coordinator Mark Ruff added, "When we make a mistake, we acknowledge that and do better." 

The Minneapolis City Council voted 13-0 on Friday to authorize the contracts.

Chauvin's trial begins Monday with jury selection. He is currently charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The other former officers in this case – J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane – are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Kueng, Tou and Lane will be tried together in August.

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