The mayor of Tacoma, Washington, is calling for the firing of the police officers involved in the killing of Manuel Ellis, in another case of police killing an unarmed black man who cried out, “I can’t breathe,” according to CNN.
“In the face of longstanding racism and recent national events, we are devastated to have the death of Manuel Ellis become a part of this national conversation,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said at a news conference.
Woodards has called for the firing of the police officers who were involved in the death of Ellis. He was a 33-year-old black man who died on March 3 while in handcuffs and restrained on the ground by police.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that Ellis died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia due to physical restraint, The News Tribune reported. The office said that contributing factors included methamphetamine intoxication and dilated cardiomyopathy, commonly known as an enlarged heart. The medical examiner ruled Ellis’ death a homicide.
“I am demanding tonight that the Pierce County Sheriff review and confirm every action taken by each officer. I demand that the sheriff provide details of the actions of each officer on the scene and I am directing the city manager to fire each officer involved,” Woodards said at a news conference late Thursday night, adding: “The officer who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Police Chief Don Ramsdell issued a statement Thursday expressing his “sincere condolences” to Ellis’ friends and family.
“I would also like to recognize the compassion and empathy our community has shown during this difficult time. We hear your anger, frustrations, and hopes. I want you to know we continue to be committed to engaging with you on topics of safety, community policing, and race so that all people feel safe in Tacoma,” Ramsdell said.
“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, said about the man’s death.