Tacoma Police | KNKX

Tacoma Police

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)

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. 

Law enforcement fills a Tacoma intersection on Jan. 23 after a police officer responding to reports of street racing drove through a crowd. The burned rubber from the illegal racing and burnouts marks the pavement at Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

In January, social-media videos circulated widely in Tacoma and beyond. They showed a Tacoma police officer driving his patrol vehicle through a group of people. Two were injured.

Officer Khanh Phan was responding to an illegal gathering of people watching drivers do stunts in cars in a downtown intersection. Police say he feared for his life when some people in the crowd gathered around his vehicle.

The streets of downtown Tacoma are empty amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Photo by Tom Collins

Thursday marks the start of negotiations between the city of Tacoma and Tacoma Police Union Local No. 6 on a new contract.

 

Will Hausa is one of two community members who will be joining the city at the bargaining table for the first time. He is a member of the Tacoma Pierce County Black Collective and chairman of the state Commission on African American Affairs.

 

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.)

Will James / KNKX


Update: The Pierce County medical examiner's office has identified the victim of the shooting as Patrick N. Shenaurlt, 38, of Parkland, and ruled his death a homicide. The cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds.

A man who was homeless was shot and killed during a suspected vigilante attack on a Tacoma encampment last week, according to court documents and witnesses.

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. 

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, center, speaks as Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, and Deputy Police Chief Adrian Diaz, right, look on during a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Four of the region’s largest police agencies will see big changes in the near future.

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. 

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, 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.

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.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

President Donald Trump’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration is spurring cities across Washington to weigh calling themselves “sanctuaries” for undocumented people.

Leaders in Tacoma, for instance, decided against adopting the “sanctuary city” label this week. They feared the Trump administration would take away millions in federal funding, as the president has promised.

The term “sanctuary city” is often a topic of emotional debate. But what does it mean?

TED S. WARREN / AP PHOTO

A funeral procession for fallen Tacoma Police Officer Reginald "Jake" Gutierrez will pass through the city Friday before a public memorial service at the Tacoma Dome.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Authorities say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Tacoma, Washington, police officer has been shot and killed by officers after a lengthy barricade situation.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer says the suspect was shot at approximately 3:30 a.m. Thursday, ending an 11-hour standoff. The suspect has not been identified.

Troyer says a girl and a boy, have been found unharmed, and have been taken from the house. He says officers found multiple weapons in the house.

Brian Cox / City of Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has launched a program to improve the relationship between police and the community. Project Peace will involve a series of meetings to be held over the next several months. The plan is that, with the help of facilitators, people will sit down with police and brainstorm how best to improve trust.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

A case involving protesters, U.S. Army Stryker vehicles and backpacks, that’s right backpacks, is being heard in a federal courtroom in Tacoma.  The civil rights trial comes nearly six years after the actual protests took place at the Port of Tacoma.

(Click on the listen button to hear the complete story.)

The "no backpack" directive can be heard on this video from the March 2007 protests at the Port of Tacoma.

AP

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Push to Preserve Iconic Seattle PI Globe
  • Warnings of Phone Scams
  • Plea Deal for JBLM Soldier Likely for Afghan War Crimes

 

It's About the PI

Some Seattle City Council members are concerned the iconic globe atop the seattlepi.com offices on the city's central waterfront may go away if it's not protected. They're considering landmark status for neon-lighted orb that has been spinning for 63 years. It has survived the company's shift from daily newspaper to a smaller, online-only venture.