3 officers charged in death of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, Washington

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday announced that charges have been filed against three Tacoma police officers in connection with the 2020 death of Manuel Ellis.

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Ellis, 33, died on March 3, 2020, after officers held him to the ground during an arrest that was caught on camera. The Pierce County medical examiner said Ellis died due to a lack of oxygen and that methamphetamine and an enlarged heart contributed to his death, KIRO-TV reported.

>> Related: ‘I can’t breathe’: Tacoma mayor calls for firing of cops in hypoxia death of Manuel Ellis

On Thursday, Ferguson said charges had been filed against Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins and Timothy Rankine. Burbank and Collins face second-degree murder charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 18 years imprisonment upon conviction. Rankine was charged with first-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of eight and a half years, officials said.

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The charges marked the first time the Washington Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges against police officers for unlawful use of deadly force, according to officials.

“Today’s charges are based on the evidence available at this time,” officials with the Washington Attorney General’s Office said in a news release. “The office’s investigation remains ongoing.”

In a statement published Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee thanked Ferguson and his office for the investigation into Ellis’ death. He had called for a new investigation into the incident in June.

“This is the first step in our system of justice,” he said.