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What does Manuel Ellis' death in police custody mean for Tacoma?

A person kneels with their fist in the air at a June 5, 2020, demonstration against police brutality in Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm
A person kneels with their fist in the air at a June 5, 2020, demonstration against police brutality in Tacoma.

On the final episode of The Walk Home, KNKX Special Projects reporter and producer Mayowa Aina asks big questions about what Manuel Ellis' death in police custody means for the city of Tacoma.

During a conversation with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick, Aina said she sought answers from people who have all been touched by Manny's death differently.

One was Manny's sister, Monét Carter-Mixon. Her persistence in finding the truth about her brother's death prompted an investigation from the state Attorney General's Office and charges for three Tacoma Police Officers.

Today, Carter-Mixon is learning to live with what happened and shares how this process has impacted herself and her family.

Community activists in Tacoma discuss what has and hasn't changed since Manny's death, and draw connections to instances of racialized violence throughout history.

Aina also examined Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards' statements over the past two years. Woodards, a Black woman, reacted with passion when the video of Manny's death was first released. As the case has progressed, Woodards has said much less.

Although this is the last episode of The Walk Home, the story isn't over. KNKX and the podcast team will continue to have regular updates.

KNKX South Sound reporter Kari Plog is covering Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer’s trial right now. The state attorney general charged him with two misdemeanors because of an interaction he had with a neighborhood newspaper carrier. The Walk Home covered Troyer in Episode 7.

KNKX will also cover the trial of the three officers charged in Manny’s death: Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, and Timothy Rankine. That trial is set for September 2023.

Updated: December 5, 2022 at 10:23 AM PST
The criminal trial of the Tacoma police officers has been delayed from January to September 2023.
Mayowa Aina reports and produces special projects, including podcasts and series, for KNKX. Mayowa started her public radio career at KUOW in Seattle. She's worked at NPR in Washington, D.C. and Alaska Public Media before moving back to her hometown of Tacoma to work at KNKX.
Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Vivian McCall is a reporter, producer and host at KNKX. Originally from Texas, Vivian spent the majority of her journalism career in Chicago. She loves having fun with sound and digging into cool science stories.
Related Content
  • Episode 7 of The Walk Home podcast is about a law enforcement official who has been part of the Manny Ellis case since the start: Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer. He was quoted in the first stories about Ellis' death, which helped shape a narrative that's now being questioned by the State Attorney General's Office.
  • The Walk Home is a podcast, produced by KNKX in partnership with The Seattle Times, about the life and death of Manny Ellis. Episode 6 is out on Wednesday. In an excerpt, hear about the Washington Attorney General's investigation, which conflicts with the officers' description of events the night Manny died.
  • The 2020 police killing of Manuel "Manny" Ellis, a Black man in Tacoma, brought a reckoning to Washington State and has set up what promises to be one of the highest-profile trials in Pacific Northwest history. The story is profiled in a new podcast, The Walk Home, produced by KNKX News and The Seattle Times.