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Washington Prosecutors Charge Tacoma Police Officers with Murdering Manuel Ellis

HeadlineMay 28, 2021

In Washington state, prosecutors have charged three Tacoma police officers with murder over the March 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black father of two. Ellis was violently arrested and beaten by the officers on the side of the road and died while he was being restrained and in handcuffs. He can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” on a police scanner.

Officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins, who are white, are charged with second-degree murder; Asian American officer Timothy Rankine faces a first-degree manslaughter charge. It’s the first time in history the Washington state Attorney General’s Office has criminally charged a police officer over a deadly use-of-force incident. It comes more than a year after a county medical examiner ruled Ellis’s death a homicide, reporting he died of “hypoxia due to physical restraint.”

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