Minneapolis dropped its plan to pay influencers to share official messages during the trial of the officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck

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Ashley Collman
·3 min read
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black lives matter
Activists outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. Stephen Maturen/Getty
  • Minneapolis is dropping a plan to pay influencers during Derek Chauvin's trial.

  • The plan would have involved paying six influencers $2,000 each to share city-approved messages.

  • Critics called the plan propaganda.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Minneapolis has scrapped a plan to pay influencers to share city-approved posts during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck in May.

derek chauvin
The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via AP

The city's plan garnered widespread criticism after it was unanimously passed by the Minneapolis City Council on Friday.

It would have involved paying six social-media influencers $2,000 each to share "city-generated and approved messages" and dispel misinformation about the trial, according to the Minnesota Reformer.

The messages were to specifically cater to the African American, American Indian, East African, Hmong, and Latino communities in the city, the Minnesota Reformer added.

Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department soon after Floyd's death, is set to stand trial later this month.

The Minneapolis community activist Toussaint Morrison, one of the plan's critics, tweeted that the program was "propaganda."

"If you go through lengths and measures to buy a narrative, what does that say about the leadership and trust that has been eroded in the past few years?" Morrison added in an interview with KTSP.

Toshira Garraway, the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, told KARE 11 that people "don't trust" the city "to be truthful about the information that's being put out there."

In a Monday meeting, officials acknowledged that the plan was flawed and said they would no longer go through with it.

"For this strategy we used the term social-media influencer, which, in retrospect, did not accurately reflect what we were asking of our partners, and it caused confusion in the community," said David Rubedor, the director of the city's neighborhood and community-relations department, according to The New York Times.

"This was never about trying to persuade or change public opinion about any particular message, but more it was about getting important information out quickly and in an equitable way."

george floyd
A mural painted by the artist Kenny Altidor depicting George Floyd in Brooklyn, New York, on July 13. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Mark Ruff, the city coordinator for Minneapolis, said the decision to scrap the program showed the city was open to residents' feedback.

"When we make a mistake, we acknowledge that, and we will do better," he said, according to The Times.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of Chauvin, who performed the fatal arrest on Floyd. Chauvin, who is white, was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes while the Black man said he couldn't breathe, prompting international protests over the treatment of Black people.

Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The trial for the three other officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest is planned for August.

Read the original article on Insider