Minneapolis authorities will allocate funding to local media influencers with a "large social media presence” to create a “proper” informational background amid the forthcoming trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer who is charged with killing George Floyd.
The city council approved a $1 million communications and de-escalation plan that includes 2,000 payments to influential media activists, including community leaders and public figures that would disseminate "city-generated and approved messages." The initiative is expected to prevent unrest and disorder, as Chauvin’s trial is scheduled for 8 March and another three other police officers, who contributed to the killing, will be tried in August.
According to the plan, the city communication strategy, named Joint Information System (JIS), involves “coordinating communications and engagement work across multiple partners and jurisdictions.”
“The goal is to create multiple channels (on the ground and online) to share timely and relevant information to the public as well as receive input and feedback from the community throughout the three phased trial operational period (pre-trial, trial, verdict phases) for both trials,” the paper reads.
While local activists have slammed the move, saying that the plan is aimed to “shift” publicity surrounding the trial, Minneapolis authorities claim that its purpose is to “dispel potential misinformation” and “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.”
Chauvin, along with three other police officers, face second-degree murder charges. Chauvin is currently released on a $1 million bail after being imprisoned at Oak Park Heights in Minnesota and is reportedly being kept out of state for security reasons.
George Floyd suffocated to death on 25 May last year as a result of brutal police actions during an arrest for reportedly using a counterfeit bill in a shop. The killing triggered massive Black Lives Matter protests that sparked throughout almost every urban area in the country and much of the world.