Image Credit: Tacoma Action Collective
Manuel Ellis’s life matters. His family’s fight for justice will impact Washington state forever.
Manuel Ellis was a musician and a father from Tacoma who was killed in custody by Tacoma Police Officers on March 3, 2020. His sister Monèt has been in a fight for answers ever since, a fight which has brought serious questions about Tacoma Police and Pierce County Sheriff’s version of events. Here you can find a statement from an eyewitness speaking with Andrew Cuomo about what she saw the night Ellis was killed [Content Warning, fatal police violence].
Here are a few facts about why this family’s fight for justice is important for all Washingtonians and what we can do to help.
1) There is no independent investigative or prosecutorial body of WA state government with which to investigate a death or serious injury at the hands of police in Washington state. Manuel Ellis’ case has exposed this problem of police investigating police and galvanized action to address it, but we are far from seeing any results.
2) Families fighting for justice for their loved ones face long arduous legal battles that few have the resources to sustain, meaning there is a massive lack of resources with which to pursue structural change or accountability.
3) Attorney General Bob Ferguson determined that Pierce County Sheriff’s Department did not comply with WA state law i940 which requires jurisdictions to address conflicts of interest in their investigations.
4) Video recordings of Manuel Ellis saying “I can’t breathe sir, and a response from a TPD officer saying “Shut the F*ck Up” in TPD possession unreleased to the public since March 4.
4) As Washingtonians, we will live in the result of this case. The family’s fight for justice will shape the future of investigations of killings and serious injuries at the hands of police for our state.
Manuel Ellis was a musician from Tacoma. Here’s how we as an arts community can support this family in their fight for justice.
1) Contribute – Here is a GoFundMe campaign where we can contribute toward the family’s legal funds as they navigate the long road ahead.
2) Connect & Follow – Justice for Manuel Ellis is a page run by Ellis’ family and learn about more ways you can amplify their voices.
FiveThirtyEight – Police Killings Almost Never Lead to Murder Charges
Human Rights Watch – Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States
Vice – The Strange Relationship Between Politics, Prosecutors, and Police Shootings,
Prisons and Class Warfare – An Interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore
The End of Policing – Available as a free Ebook on the history of police and
New York Times Op Ed – Mariame Kaba – Yes We Literally Mean Abolish The Police