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The city of Minneapolis is hiring social media influencers to share information around the trials of the four former police officers charged in connection to the killing of George Floyd.
During the trial, six influencers will be paid around $2,000 each to share ‘city-generated and approved messages’ among Black, Native American, Hmong, and Latinx communities.
It’s hoped that by enlisting ‘trusted messengers’ from these communities, the city council will be able to ‘dispel incorrect information’ around the trials, The Minnesota Reformer reports.
‘Through the Communications and Neighborhood and Community Relations departments the City will ensure that communities and elected leaders have direct access to information in real time leading up to the trial, during the trial and when the verdict is announced,’ the city council announced in a statement.
‘We intend to offer enhanced community services during the trial to keep people informed and safe, especially non-English and Black, Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) communities and small businesses that do not rely on traditional media.’
The area around the courthouse in Minneapolis, where Derek Chauvin – the former officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness – will soon stand trial, is now surrounded by concrete barriers, boarded-up windows and barbed wire cladding to protect the building from protests.
Soon, more than 2,000 National Guard troops and more than 1,000 police officers from other states will be patrolling the area.However, activists have vowed to protest no matter what.
A spokesperson for a group of 17 different activist and community groups said they hadn’t heard anything from city officials.
However, city council member Steve Fletcher said the city wants to avoid needing police for crowd control, especially after protesters and journalists were injured during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations after police deployed chemical agents and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
‘I think there’s a real awareness that justice is denied in many cases like this and I think people are preparing themselves for an outcome that might be painful. Or a process that might feel painful even if the outcome is something like justice,’ he told The Minnesota Reformer.
‘I think that figuring out how to support each other through that as a city is kind of the work ahead, and I’m hopeful that we can do more of that on the front end and rely less on riot shields on the back end.’
Chauvin’s trial is set to begin with jury selection on March 8. He is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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