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Murder charges filed against officers in Black man's death

Police Custody Death
Posted at 3:17 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 15:17:08-04

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state attorney general charged two Tacoma police officers with murder and another with manslaughter in the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who died after telling them he couldn't breathe as he was being restrained.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed charges of second-degree murder Thursday against Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins and first-degree manslaughter against Timothy Rankine.

Witnesses reported seeing Burbank and Collins attack Ellis without provocation.

According to the Associated Press, Rankine is accused of putting pressure on Ellis’ back.

The 33-year-old Ellis was killed March 3, 2020, just weeks before George Floyd's death under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer triggered a nationwide reckoning on race and policing.

Ellis's final words — "I can't breathe, sir!" — were captured by a home security camera.

Last June, the medical examiner in Pierce County, Washington, determined that Ellis was killed when physical restraint caused him to stop breathing, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

The AP reported that five Tacoma officers are on paid home leave pending the charging decision.