The city of Minneapolis has abandoned a plan to pay social media influencers to post and share information during the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
Minneapolis communications director Greta Bergstrom and community relations director David Rubedor confirmed plans to cancel the initiative, according to an email from ABC News.
“While we believe in and support the intent of this recommendation, we have seen that the effects have caused damage. We are sorry and we acknowledge that we need to work to fix the damage caused, ”the email read. “At this point, we are NOT going to advance this strategy.”
The original plan was for Minneapolis to enter into paid partnerships with “community members,” who have a large social media presence, to exchange city-generated and approved messages. According to the proposal, six social media influencers would each receive $ 2,000 for sharing information during the process.
City officials believed the plan would help contain protests, riots and anger. However, the city received significant backlash from its residents who said the posts might influence opinions in the trial while others accused Minneapolis of buying a narrative.
“They buy people to tell you that your feelings are not valid, or that you should stay home and not protest, or that certain things are more important than justice,” Toussaint Morrison, a community activist, told ABC. “I find it really disappointing that they are trying to buy the narrative from social media influencers.”
Police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second degree murder and second degree manslaughter for holding George Floyd for just under nine minutes, which resulted in Floyd’s death. The incident, along with the death of Breonna Taylor, sparked a worldwide resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Three other officers, Thomas Lane, JA Keung and Tou Thao, were there with chauvin and were charged with minor offenses. All three were charged with complicity in second degree murder. All three will be tried in August, while Chauvin’s trial will begin next Monday.