“You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”
Those were the words printed on dozens of balloons that were released into the air in downtown Tacoma on Father’s Day, during an event honoring Manuel Ellis.
Ellis was killed in Tacoma police custody on March 3. His death, which was ruled a homicide and has culminated in a state-led investigation, has become a local symbol of protests against police brutality that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
But Sunday wasn’t focused on how Ellis died. It was focused on celebrating the life of the musician and father of two.
Ellis’ family gathered alongside activists and Tacoma residents for a lively block party at Go Philly, which provided free food for the event. People danced in the streets, and some speakers called for city leaders to defund the Tacoma Police Department, which had officers on scene to block traffic for the celebration.
KNKX’s Parker Miles Blohm attended Sunday’s event and captured the scenes below.