TACOMA — The family of a Tacoma man who died after being restrained by police in March are calling for the four officers involved to be fired and arrested after the Pierce County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Investigators with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of Mannie Ellis, 33, as caused by respiratory arrest to hypoxia due to physical restraint — meaning he couldn’t breathe while being restrained.
Contributing factors include methamphetamine intoxication and enlarged heart condition, KOMO-TV reported.
“The harshest of realities is George Floyd is right here in Tacoma, and his name is Manny,” attorney James Bible, who is representing Ellis’ family, told The News Tribune.
Tacoma officers contacted Ellis before 11:30 p.m. on March 3 after he was punching the window of a car, according to Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, who is leading an investigation in to the death.
Two Tacoma police officers asked Ellis if he needed help, according to police. Ellis told officers he had warrants, police said.
When one officer got out of the car to talk, Ellis picked up the officer by the vest and slammed him to the ground, prompting the second officer to physically restrain Ellis in order to detain him, Troyer said.
Once Ellis was in custody, he complained about not being able to breathe, officials said.
Medics were called, but Ellis died at the scene.
Hundreds joined his family Wednesday night at a vigil and protest in Tacoma after learning of the autopsy results.
Tacoma Police has identified the officers involved as Christopher Burbank, 34; Matthew Collins, 37; Masyih Ford, 28; and Timothy Rankine, 31.
Two of the officers are white, one is black and one is Asian, according to Tacoma police.
They are back on administrative leave in light of the autopsy report, police said.
Gov. Jay Inslee said that he and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards will push to make sure there is a “full and complete investigation into the death” of Manuel Ellis, who died on March 3 in handcuffs while being restrained on the ground by Tacoma police.