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Protesters gather outside the County-City Building in Tacoma on Friday, demanding justice for Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in police custody March 3. His death was ruled a homicide, according to a report made public this week.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Tacoma mayor wants officers in Manuel Ellis case fired, City Council asks for state review

The family of Manuel Ellis spoke, and the Tacoma City Council listened. The council unanimously voted Friday to submit a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, calling for a state-sanctioned independent review of Ellis’ death. Ellis died March 3 in police custody. His death was ruled a homicide, in a medical examiner’s report made public this week . The cause was lack of oxygen due to physical restraint.

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Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on June 29, 2019.

Frustration with long delays in getting jobless benefits is boiling over into a lawsuit against the Washington State Employment Security Department. Attorneys representing two laid off workers and the nonprofit Unemployment Law Project filed the case directly with the state Supreme Court on Friday.

Sunset, seen from the shores of Seattle on May 28, 2020.
Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Gray skies, rain showers and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast again. It’s a pretty typical for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, where most people rattle off phrases such as "June Gloom" and "June-uary" to describe this kind of weather.

The exception here is thunder and lightning. Intense storms that are common in other parts of the country are rare here.

Lakewood resident Zabrina Holcombe, 43, is one of the thousands of people in Washington whose unemployment payments have been put on hold or not come through at all as the state deals with fraud investigations.
Jennifer Wing / KNKX

The unemployment rolls in Washington state have started to shrink in the past few weeks after hitting record levels earlier during the pandemic.

Suzi LeVine, commissioner of the state Employment Security Department, said initial weekly claims for unemployment have fallen sharply for the past two weeks. In addition, the total number of Washingtonians collecting unemployment seems to have crested and is now falling back.

Joey Manson, center director of the Seward Park Audubon Center, birdwatching Sunday with his colleague Armand Lucas at Be’er Sheva Park, in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
Glenn Nelson

If you’re Black in America, something as innocent as bird-watching can cause suspicion. A social media campaign is celebrating African Americans taking back that space. It’s called Black Birders Week.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Seahawks players are speaking out about the police killing of George Floyd and the protests that have followed. Some of the strongest words have come from quarterback Russell Wilson. It's the topic of this week's conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

House Speaker Pro-tem Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, presides over the Washington House, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

State Rep. John Lovick spent more than 30 years in uniform with the Washington State Patrol. He was the Snohomish County sheriff and then the county executive. He's also Black, and he grew up in Louisiana in the 1950s and 60s.

And he’s been watching and listening to the chants and the voices and the protests we've seen in Washington state and around the country over the last several days. 

He told KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco that he still believes that America’s soul can be redeemed. Hear an extended version of their conversation, below.

A friend of Manuel Ellis, who died in the custody of Tacoma police in March, holds a sign demanding justice after Ellis' death was ruled a homicide. Four officers involved are now on leave.
Will James / KNKX

Nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are hitting home especially hard in Tacoma, after the Pierce County medical examiner ruled the death of Manuel Ellis a homicide. In March, Ellis died in handcuffs while Tacoma police restrained him. The cause of death was respiratory arrest. 

Jamika Scott is an organizer who has worked with Ellis' family to bring attention to his death. 

Protesters have been gathering in Seattle daily since last weekend, to protest police brutality. During those demonstrations, police have been accused of using tear gas to clear crowds.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Seattle City Council grilled Police Chief Carmen Best on Wednesday afternoon over the conduct of officers during weeklong protests. Often late at night, police were dispersing crowds with tear gas and flash-bang grenades.


Critics said there appeared to be little effort to de-escalate the situation in ways that had been done in the past. Council member Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee, told Best she wanted answers.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

So many deaths of Black people at the hands of police in the U.S.

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor — heartbreakingly, that's just a subset of names.

But now, the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, captured on video as he said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe while a kneeling police officer pinned him to the ground, has sparked a new level of outrage that’s propelled people across the country to take to the streets.

For Black teens in Washington state, George Floyd’s death in police custody was sadly familiar.


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Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of the COVID-19 epidemic in the Pacific Northwest.
A podcast about homelessness aimed to help you understand one of the most complicated issues facing the region.

Featured Studio Session

Nate Wood of Kneebody.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Kneebody gets comfortable in the KNKX studios

Having just flown in that day from Vancouver, the four men of Kneebody settled into the KNKX studios to briefly catch their breath and play a few songs. Their new album Chapters comes out Oct. 18, and their world tour is kicking into gear.

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Featured Jazz Northwest

Amber French

Recent Releases By Northwest Artists On Jazz Northwest

A sampling of new and recent releases by resident Northwest musicians is featured on Jazz Northwest this week. One of the most unusual is Recording Ban by Jacob Zimmerman. The title refers to the musicians' union strike against the recording companies 1942-1944. The Recording Ban occurred at a time when jazz was evolving from Swing to Bop and as a result some significant music was not played in recording studios during those years. Jacob Zimmerman zeroed in on that period for his debut...

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