Another handcuffed Black man died in a police restraint while yelling ‘I can’t breathe’: Medical examiner rules Manuel Ellis’s death was a homicide and Tacoma, Washington mayor demands four cops involved be fired
Victoria Woodards, the mayor of Tacoma, Washington, says she wants the police officers involved in the fatal police arrest of Manuel Ellis fired
Woodards called for the terminations after a witness video emerged Thursday showing the 33-year-old black man being aggressively beaten and restrained
Manuel Ellis died in a police restraint while yelling ‘I can’t breathe’: Washington medical examiner rules father-of-two Manuel Ellis’s death was a homicide after he was handcuffed during his arrest in March 3
In the new footage, a woman filming the arrest from her car is heard yelling out to the officers to stop as they are seen throwing punches at Ellis
Ellis previously was only heard in a recording of police radio yelling ‘I can’t breathe’ as the officers restrained and handcuffed him
He is seen on the ground in the footage kicking at the cops, who are later seen in the footage holding him down
Mayor Woodards called on the Pierce County Sheriff to follow up with an investigation and for charges against the officer found responsible for the slaying
Police in Tacoma said the father to a son, 11, and 18-month-old daughter was harassing a woman by banging on her car window
Two cops claim Ellis repeated banged on their patrol car so they called back up
Officers claim Ellis slammed one of them to the ground so they restrained him
None of the officers was were not wearing body cameras but there is footage
Tacoma police confirmed that the four officers involved in restraining Ellis – Christopher Burbank, 34, and Mathew Collins, 37, both white, Masyih Ford, 28, who is black and Timothy Rankine, 31, who is Asian are now on administrative leave
ME ruled death to be homicide on May 11. It’s unclear why it was only announced on June 3
Before the decision to fire them, the four officers initially were placed on paid leave, then returned to the force, and were placed on leave again on Wednesday
Manuel Ellis, [photo], yelled ‘I can’t breathe’ as Tacoma PD officers restrained him on the ground while he was handcuffed on March 3. Cops said he was harassing women in on the street when they approached him and that he banged on their car and slammed an officer to the ground
Police audio captures Manuel Ellis saying ‘I can’t breathe’
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards [photo], announced Thursday that she wants to fire the police officers involved in the fatal police arrest of Manuel Ellis fired after a witness video emerged showing the 33-year-old black man being aggressively beaten and restrained
Ellis was heard as he yelled ‘I can’t breathe’ while handcuffed and restrained by cops.
The arresting officers Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, Masyih Ford and Timothy Rankine, who are now on administrative leave, said they intervened when they saw Ellis harassing a woman by banging on her car window.
According to police, Ellis started hitting their patrol car and asking to speak them about outstanding warrants against him.
Cops say he then picked up one of the officers by the vest and threw him on the ground.
They then tried to restrain him when he got combative on the floor, shortly before he died. It is unclear how he was restrained, and how long he was restrained for before he died, cops claimed.
On Wednesday, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Ellis died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia due to physical restraint. Death was rued a homicide.
The four officers were initially placed on paid leave, returned to the force, then placed on administrative leave again Wednesday after the homicide ruling. The ruling of death by Hypoxia meaning the victim could not get enough oxygen to reach the lungs is at odds with the cops initially said, that they believed Ellis died from excited delirium which can result in overwhelming strength, an overheated body and attempts at violence.
Masyih Ford (left) and Timothy Rankine (right), are two of the four officers involved. They were not wearing body cameras but there is footage of the incident that has been submitted.
The findings came back on May 11. It’s unclear why they were not announced until June 3. The full details of how he was restrained are currently not available but a police have denied officers used a knee to the neck or a choke hold while arresting Ellis.
Contributing factors included methamphetamine intoxication and dilated cardiomyopathy, commonly known as an enlarged heart, the Medical Examiner said. Ellis was living at a clean-and-sober home
Cops said initially that Ellis who has an 11-year-old and 18-month-old might have experienced excited delirium, which can result in overwhelming strength, an overheated body and attempts at violence. Contributing factors included methamphetamine intoxication and dilated cardiomyopathy, commonly known as an enlarged heart, the Medical Examiner said.
His cause of death was initially listed as pending while medical examiners ran toxicology tests.
‘I demand that the sheriff provide details of the actions of each officer on the scene and I am directing the city manager to fire each officer involved,’ Mayor Wooodards said during a press conference Thursday night that was posted on Facebook.
‘The officer who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.’
The mayor also said she would tell the city manager ‘to move forward for allocating funding for body cams immediately.’
‘We have waited way too long,’ she said.
Officers are pictured in footage from the video aggressively trying to restrain Ellis. Previously, Ellis had only been heard in a recording of police radio yelling ‘I can’t breathe,’ during the March 3 arrest
‘Hey! Stop! Oh my God! Stop hitting him. Stop hitting him. Just arrest him. Just arrest him,’ Ellis is seen in the video on the ground, getting kicked by the officers in the footage shot by the witness from her vehicle
In the witness video, a woman filming the arrest from her car is heard yelling out to the officers to stop as they are seen throwing punches at Ellis, who is on the ground and kicking at them. ‘Hey! Stop! Oh my God! Stop hitting him. Stop hitting him. Just arrest him. Just arrest him,’ the unidentified woman pleaded from her vehicle, before a man, also not identified, distracts her from outside.
The officers are later seen in the footage holding down the man as the woman drives past them. This week, Tacoma police identified the four officers involved in restraining Ellis. Burbank, 34, and Collins, 37, are white and have been on the force four and a half years, and five years, respectively. Ford, 28, is black and Rankine, 31, is Asian. They have been on the force two years and two months, and one year and 10 months respectively.
Officers Burbank, Collins, Ford and Rankine all claim they intervened when they saw Ellis harassing a woman by banging on her car window. All four were placed on paid administrative leave after the incident. They then returned to duty but were placed on administrative leave again Wednesday. Contributing factors included methamphetamine intoxication and dilated cardiomyopathy, commonly known as an enlarged heart, the Medical Examiner said. Police Chief Don Ramsdell said he is awaiting investigators’ final report on Ellis’ death. The case is expected to be forwarded to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office by next week. ‘The information is all being put together,’ Pierce County Detective Troyer said. ‘We expect to present it to the prosecutor at the end of this week or early next week.’
People are seen gathering Wednesday at the cross section where Ellis was killed on March 3
People held signs during a vigil for Manuel Ellis. Protests and other events sparked by the death of George Floyd have continued in the Tacoma area
Delivering the version of events from the Sheriff’s office, Ed Troyer had maintained that the officers rolled Ellis onto his side when he said he ‘can’t breathe’ and that he doesn’t believe they used a choke hold or knee in the neck. Eric Garner died after cops put him in a choke hold for allegedly illegally selling cigarettes and George Floyd died under the pressure of a knee to his neck while suspected of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Both black men cried to the cops: ‘I can’t breathe.’ ‘The main reason why he was restrained was so he wouldn’t hurt himself or them,’ Detective Troyer said. ‘As soon as he said he couldn’t breathe, they requested medical aid.’ Ellis’ sister, whose children he helped look after, ‘There’s a lot of questions that still need to be answered,’ Ellis’ sister Monet Carter-Mixon said. ‘My heart literally hurts. It’s painful. My brother was my best friend.’ A vigil took place Wednesday night in Tacoma.
We will learn the results of that investigation even as our country reels from the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others,’ – Mayor Woodards
A close friend of Ellis’ said they had enjoyed a video call two hours before the incident. They spoke about how excited he was to have attended a church service where he played the drums.
‘He was always uplifting,’ Brian Giordano told the New York Times. ‘He was always on the up-and-up about taking care of people.’
He said Ellis was living in a clean-and-sober home and was getting his life together.
A GoFundMe page explained: ‘His father died from stomach cancer when he was 2 months old, and a difficult childhood led to struggles with addiction and mental health needs, undiagnosed for many years.’
The page added that he had warned the children in his family of the dangers that come with growing up black in America.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin [right] was caught on tape squeezing the life out of George Floyd [left], by pressing a knee on the neck of the handcuffed man for nearly 9 minutes even as he moaned ‘I can’t breathe’
They said cops didn’t use a choke hold like in the case of Eric Garner’s death. It adds they never expected him to die at the hands of law enforcement. ‘He raised his daughter and his nieces and nephews with the understanding that because they were Black their conduct must reflect the understanding that being killed by police was a very real possibility for them and would always be justified by the broader society…
‘Still, we never thought we would see him dead at the hands of the police. We are heartbroken and angry that his life was taken by unaccountable officers of the state.’
The family now needs help with legal fees to bring charges to the officers.
‘The harshest of realities is George Floyd is right here in Tacoma, and his name is Manny,’ attorney James Bible, who is representing Ellis’ family, told The News Tribune.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that he and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards ‘will be pushing to make sure there is a full and complete investigation of that incident’.
‘We will learn the results of that investigation even as our country reels from the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others,’ Ms. Woodards said.
She urged protesters not to let their emotions overcome them.
‘While Tacoma has come together peacefully to have hard conversations about the change that needs to happen to save African-American lives, we have seen how the tension of this issue and these lost lives have spilled over into more violence,’ Woodards said.
‘We will not sit back and allow national tensions to bleed into the progress we are striving to achieve. Together, we will serve as an example that we can move forward as a community if we are united in purpose and love.’