On March 3, 2020, Manuel Ellis was contacted by Tacoma police after being observed attempting to open doors of occupied vehicles. According to reports, there was a struggle between Mr. Ellis and officers. Mr. Ellis was placed into handcuffs and detained. In a police radio recording of the incident, Mr. Ellis can be heard yelling, “I can’t breathe.” Mr. Ellis died in handcuffs while being restrained on the ground by officers. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death a homicide, determining that Mr. Ellis died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia due to physical restraint. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave after the incident and have since returned to duty. It is anticipated that the case will be forwarded to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office by next week. Tacoma Police Department has declined to comment on the case as it is still an active investigation. In a statement to The Tacoma News Tribune, Mayor Victoria Woodards said, “We look forward to the…swift completion of the investigation, and we will take appropriate steps based on the findings.”

Source: The Tacoma News Tribune

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