Updated: March 31, 2021 06:38 PM
Created: March 31, 2021 05:48 PM
News crews from all over the world are in Minneapolis to cover the trial at a time when the city is still largely empty due to the pandemic.
"Kind of a jarring juxtaposition," said Steve Cramer, president and CEO of Minneapolis Downtown Council. "The overall environment downtown is just a reflection of what we've experienced this past year, but we do have now this infusion of a lot of energy around the Derek Chauvin trial."
Worldwide media flooded the city during this first week of testimony. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spotted national television correspondents, along with international news networks, reporting on the trial from Minneapolis.
People who live downtown said the massive media presence comes at a time when the city otherwise feels like a "ghost town."
"Well, it's been abandoned, boarded up and kind of eerie ever since the riots started last spring," Robert Dugger said.
"It's been pretty empty. I'm not really used to it.," Audrey Dore added. "I haven't been out here in a while."
Office buildings in Minneapolis are only about 16% full, according to the latest Downtown Reanimation Metrics from the Minneapolis Downtown Council, so the city does not have its usual crowd of commuters and young professionals frequenting downtown businesses.
Cramer said the trial may help reintroduce people to the downtown area, although he does not expect the usual crowds to return until after the verdict.
"That'll be perhaps in the next month or so and then I think we'll see a pretty significant uptick in people coming back to the office, events beginning to occur and our 'post-COVID downtown' beginning to emerge," Cramer said. "As soon as the trial is over, I think we'll begin to see an acceleration back toward what people would expect to be more of a normal downtown environment."
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