Manuel Ellis | KNKX

Manuel Ellis

Cranes have become more familiar fixtures of the Tacoma skyline as growth has increased in the City of Destiny in recent years.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The City of Tacoma is canceling a contract with the organization in charge of managing a proposed community trauma response team. 

 

A COVID-19 vaccination card and sticker are displayed.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / The Associated Press

Washington is supposed to be fully reopened by the end of this month. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the state's latest pandemic response efforts and how some of those are receiving pushback.

Manuel Ellis' family – from left, sister Monet Carter-Mixon, brother Matthew Ellis, and mother Marcia Carter-Patterson – gathers after Thursday's news conference.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When she learned that the police officers charged with killing her son were arrested, Marcia Carter-Patterson’s heart jumped.

“It feels good that they are in custody,” Carter-Patterson told KNKX Public Radio moments after she learned the news. “But we have a long way to go.” 

The three officers charged in Manuel Ellis' death are, from left, Matthew Collins, Timothy Rankine, Christopher Burbank.
Tony Overman / The News Tribune via AP

The three Tacoma Police officers charged in the death of Manuel Ellis pleaded not guilty Friday in Pierce County Superior Court.

Marcia Carter, the mother of Manuel Ellis, speaks about her son Thursday at a news conference in Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Family members of Manuel Ellis recalled the 33-year-old man as a brother, a son and an uncle at a news conference Thursday afternoon in Tacoma. They spoke about missing him at their family dinner table for more than a year. 

A mural in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood calls for justice for Manuel Ellis, who was killed while being restrained by Tacoma police on March 3.
Kari Plog / KNKX

Numerous state and local leaders and organizations released statements Thursday following Attorney General Bob Ferguson's announcement that three Tacoma police officers will be charged in the March 2020 death of Manuel Ellis. 

Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in Tacoma police custody March 3. Ellis is remembered as a musician and father whose life was marked by  by pain, struggle, and a search for redemption.
Courtesy of Tacoma Action Collective


 

Three Tacoma police officers have been charged with felonies in the March 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday, after multiple investigations into a case that has set off protests and resulted in changes in statewide police accountability laws.

 

A mural honoring Manuel Ellis and calling for justice in his death fills a wall in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood.
Kari Plog / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee traveled to Tacoma on Tuesday to sign a suite of police accountability measures that were passed by the Legislature earlier this year. 

The bill signing happened at the Eastside Community Center, just five miles from the intersection where Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police last year.

Supporters of Manuel Ellis hang a poster with his photo during a celebration in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood earlier this year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

UPDATE, May 25: The Attorney General's Office said in a statement Tuesday, May 25, that it will announce a charging decision in the case on Thursday, May 27.  

It’s been more than a year since Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police and six months since the Washington State Patrol concluded its investigation into his death. Now, a highly anticipated charging decision is expected to come out of the state Attorney General’s Office in the coming weeks. 

A woman holds up a George Floyd poster across from the Hennepin County Government Center, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, after jurors found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the death of Floyd.
Jim Mone / The Associated Press

 


Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on three charges related to the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd – unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. That verdict in Minneapolis sent a wave of relief throughout the country, including here in Washington.

Attorney James Bible, bottom right, and the family of the late Manuel Ellis are seen at a press conference in June. On Friday, Bible announced the family's plan to seek $30 million in damages in a lawsuit against the city of Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Wednesday marks one year since Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police. The 33-year-old Black man was heard on video saying he couldn't breathe as officers restrained him following an altercation that began when police say they saw Ellis trying to open the door of a car that wasn't his. His death was ruled a homicide.

The silent march for Manny Ellis began at the New Covenant Pentecostal Church in Tacoma and was accompanied by a steady drum beat as protesters made their way to People’s Park.
Ronnie Estoque / South Seattle Emerald

Days before the anniversary of Manuel Ellis’ death, about 200 people marched a mile through Tacoma, quiet except for the beating of a drum.

The “silent march” Sunday was organized by Black religious leaders in Tacoma to commemorate Ellis, who was killed by Tacoma police on March 3, 2020.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

10:40 a.m. Wednesday: Updated with statements from the Tacoma City Council and Tacoma Police Union Local No. 6.

Street racing, protests and a police officer driving through a crowd and running over one person: These issues were the focus of two back-to-back meetings Monday night in Tacoma. 

Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in Tacoma police custody March 3. Ellis is remembered as a musician and father whose life was marked by  by pain, struggle, and a search for redemption.
Courtesy of Tacoma Action Collective

Author’s note: As protests against police brutality and racism swept the United States in 2020, the name of a Tacoma man was sometimes shouted alongside George Floyd's and Breonna Taylor's. Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police on March 3 after he encountered officers on a dark residential street. For protesters, Ellis' death was part of a pattern of police using inappropriate force against Black people. As KNKX spoke to Ellis' family and friends, other themes emerged as well: the ways in which childhood trauma and mental illness can alter the course of a person's life, and how not everyone has the same access to treatment. This story offers a glimpse into the life of someone who became one of 2020's unfortunate symbols. (This story originally aired June 12, 2020.)

Family and friends of Manuel Ellis gathered for a Father's Day celebration this summer in honor of the late South Tacoma man, who was killed in police custody in March.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Washington State Patrol has finished its investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis, who died in March while being restrained by Tacoma police officers.

Community members gathered in June for a celebration of life for Manuel Ellis, who was killed by Tacoma police in March. In this photo, one of the attendees hangs a flyer with Ellis’ image that says “Happy Father’s Day Manny.”
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

More than six months have passed since 33-year-old Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police on a residential street in March. He died after telling officers he couldn't breathe. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide. 

Since then, Ellis' death has sparked protests, vigils, efforts to reform statewide police-accountability laws, and legal action against the City of Tacoma. Meanwhile, the state patrol is investigating whether any of the four Tacoma officers who were at the scene should be charged with crimes. Ellis became a local example of the inequities people around the country were protesting after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. 

Family and friends of Manuel Ellis gathered Friday to celebrate what would have been Ellis' 34th birthday. Ellis was killed by Tacoma police nearly six months ago.
Melissa Ponder

Friday would have been Manuel Ellis’ 34th birthday. 

“I was there when he was born,” Regina Ellis Burnett said of her nephew. “Unfortunately, I was not there when his life was taken. We’re here to celebrate.”

Attorney James Bible, bottom right, and the family of the late Manuel Ellis are seen at a press conference in June. On Friday, Bible announced the family's plan to seek $30 million in damages in a lawsuit against the city of Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Nearly six months after Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police, his family says they plan to seek $30 million in damages in a lawsuit against the city.

The family's attorney, James Bible, said he planned to file a precursor to a lawsuit known as a tort claim with the city on Friday afternoon. 

The announcement came on what would have been Ellis' 34th birthday. 

Protesters gather in Tacoma on June 2 to demand justice for Bennie Branch, who was shot and killed by Tacoma police in September 2019.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

Two cases in which police in Pierce County shot and killed Black men in their 20s are getting renewed attention following weeks of protest sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Bennie Branch, 24, and Said Joquin, 26, were shot and killed in separate incidents eight months apart. 

Katrina Johnson, cousin to the late Charleena Lyles, spoke at a rally on June 18, 2020, the three-year anniversary of Lyles' death.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Katrina Johnson had prepared for a career in nursing. Then Seattle police shot and killed her cousin, Charleena Lyles, on June 18, 2017.

"From that day, it's just been a constant fight trying to understand and come to terms with what happened," said Johnson, a Tacoma resident.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office is reviewing at least 30 cases in which police killed or wounded people in 2020, amid concerns law enforcement agencies are not following new rules governing how they hold each other accountable in cases of deadly force.

Monet Carter-Mixon (center), sister of Manuel Ellis, joined Ellis' family and friends Sunday for a balloon release celebrating the late father of two, who was killed March 3 in Tacoma police custody.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“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.  

Manuel Ellis
Courtesy of Tacoma Action Collective

The Washington State Patrol will take over an investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was killed in Tacoma police custody in March after telling an officer, "I can't breathe, sir."

Gov. Jay Inslee made the announcement in a written statement Wednesday afternoon.

Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in Tacoma police custody March 3. Ellis is remembered as a musician and father whose life was marked by  by pain, struggle, and a search for redemption.
Courtesy of Tacoma Action Collective

A newly released video taken by a witness appears to show a Tacoma police officer wrap his arm around Manuel Ellis' neck and then press a knee into Ellis' body.

The video reveals new details of the struggle that preceded Ellis' death on a South Tacoma street the night of March 3. The case has gotten increasing attention and scrutiny amid nationwide protests decrying police brutality against Black people.

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

Now that Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will ensure an independent investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards is outlining her hopes for what that will look like.

"That we get a fair, independent, clean investigation," Woodards told KNKX. "That we trust the agency who’s doing it, we trust that they can do it fairly, and we trust that they can get it done in a reasonable amount of time. "

Ellis died in March after being restrained by Tacoma police officers. His death has been ruled a homicide.

The family of Manuel Ellis and their attorney, James Bible, address reporters during a news conference Tuesday in Tacoma. They renewed calls for the state to lead an independent investigation into Ellis' killing on March 3.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee says he’s convinced the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department shouldn’t lead the investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis. He announced Wednesday that the state is reviewing how the investigation should proceed, including who will make charging decisions.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

UPDATE, June 10: Gov. Jay Inslee says he's convinced the Pierce County Sheriff's Department can't lead the investigation into Manuel Ellis' death. The governor is working with Attorney General Bob Ferguson to decide how the investigation will proceed. Read the latest developments here

The family of Manuel Ellis has released a new video from the night Ellis was killed in police custody. Their attorney says it shows a man "begging for his life." 

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. 

Hundreds gathered at a vigil Wednesday night to remember Manuel Ellis, who died March 3 in the custody of Tacoma police officers. His death has been ruled a homicide by the Pierce County medical examiner, and the officers have been placed on leave.
Joel Schomberg/Longhouse Media

Marcia Carter says she cried for two months and 10 days, waiting for answers about the death of her son, Manuel Ellis. This week, she got some. But now the family is left with even more questions. 

“We want answers,” Carter said Thursday, outside the Pierce County Superior Court, flanked by representatives from the regional chapter of the NAACP and the activist group Tacoma Action Collective. “No more talking.” 

Four Tacoma police officers were placed on administrative leave Wednesday, after a report from the Pierce County medical examiner became public. It ruled Ellis’ death a homicide, caused by a lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. Ellis died in police custody during an arrest in South Tacoma on March 3.