NewsAmerica in Crisis


Manuel Ellis: 3 police officers charged to appear in court after being charged in man's death

Manuel Ellis Tacoma
Posted at 8:08 AM, May 28, 2021

SEATTLE — Three Washington state police officers are due in court Friday to face charges in the restraint death of a Black man who repeatedly told them he couldn't breathe.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson charged Tacoma officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins, who are both white, with second-degree murder Thursday after witnesses said they attacked Manuel Ellis.

Officer Timothy Rankine, who is Asian, is charged with manslaughter.

All three were scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

According to The New York Times, Ellis was arrested on March 3. Police were called to the scene after they were told a suspect was harassing a woman.

When officers confronted Ellis, they found him banging on car windshields in the area. CBS News reports that Ellis also banged on a police patrol car.

Police say Ellis tackled an officer that confronted him. Other officers on the scene then grabbed Ellis and handcuffed him.

Police told The New York Times that they did not put a knee on Ellis or use a chokehold on him. The department also says officers rolled Ellis on his side when he yelled out that he couldn't breathe.

While police were not wearing body cameras at the time of the arrest, Ellis' final words — “I can’t breathe, sir!” — were captured by a home security camera.

Last June, the medical examiner in Pierce County, Washington, determined that Ellis was killed when physical restraint caused him to stop breathing.