Issues surrounding Chauvin trial go "far beyond Minneapolis," city council member says

Jeremiah Ellison on Chauvin trial
Jeremiah Ellison on Chauvin trial 06:12

Minneapolis has captured the country's attention over the last week as witnesses began testifying in the trial of Derek Chauvin more than 10 months after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

As the city continues to feel the effects of Floyd's death, City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison told "CBS This Morning" on Friday he's been talking with his constituents and neighbors about how they're feeling with the trial underway.

"People are looking for a little bit of leadership on the outside of the trial," Ellison said. "Of course, the people who are in it need to be focused on the trial, but that doesn't mean that it's not having ramifications out in the community and that people aren't really feeling the weight of it."

Minneapolis residents react to Chauvin trial 02:46

Ellison said the issues brought up by the trial go "far beyond Minneapolis."

"I think unfortunately every single city, you know, some big cities, some small cities like Ferguson, have experienced what we're experiencing emotionally here in Minneapolis," he said, noting the deaths of Black men in police custody in cities like New York and Chicago also sparked local and national outrage.

Ellison said the outcome of Chauvin's criminal trial and Minneapolis' settlement with the Floyd family can't be seen as "the totality of justice."

"We've got to be focused beyond that because no matter what the outcome is, you know, we still have issues here in our city, and we've got to be working really hard to make sure that this doesn't happen again," he said.

Since Floyd's death, local Minneapolis leaders have sought to tackle some of those greater issues. Both the city and state overhauled rules surrounding the use of force and banned chokeholds as a law enforcement maneuver.

Ellison said the City Council also moved $8 million in funding from the police department "in an effort to expand how it is that we keep our neighbors safe."

"We've got those budget allocations, we're expanding the Office of Violence Prevention, which is a program that we just started in 2018. And that work has gone from roughly half a million dollars to $2.5 million. It's a lot of expansion, but it's not enough that we're going to need to continue those programs," Ellison said.

He added that the city was also investing in mental health responders and other methods to allocate non-emergency calls away from police.

In the meantime, Ellison said he appreciated the attention and support paid to Minneapolis and said he would keep his "ear to the ground" on how his constituents felt in this historic moment.

Ellison's father, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, is leading the prosecution's case against Chauvin.

For Jeremiah Ellison, he was personally touched when he saw MMA fighter Donald Williams take the stand, having played sports with Williams when they were growing up.

"It's not some distant thing that we're watching on TV," he said. "We're seeing our neighbors up there."