Three #Washington state police officers who were acquitted of criminal charges in the 2020 death of #ManuelEllis, a Black man, will each receive $500,000 to leave the #Tacoma Police Department. Ellis died after being shocked, beaten, and restrained facedown on a sidewalk while he pleaded for breath. The officers, Timothy Rankine, Matthew Collins, and Christopher Burbank, were cleared of charges following a two-month trial, with Rankine facing manslaughter charges and Collins and Burbank facing manslaughter and second-degree murder charges.
The city released the "voluntary separation" agreements with the officers, stating that none of them violated the use-of-force policy in effect on March 3, 2020, except Collins, who violated a policy concerning courtesy. The use-of-force policy has since been updated.
Critics argue that the officers are being "rewarded" for Ellis's death, as they had already been paid about $1.5 million while on leave for nearly four years. Seattle's U.S. attorney's office is reviewing the case for potential federal civil rights violations.
We are deeply troubled by this outcome. Ellis's death sparked protests for racial justice in the Pacific Northwest but didn't receive the same level of attention as George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis. The trial was the first under a state law designed to facilitate the prosecution of police officers accused of wrongfully using deadly force. The Ellis family previously settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Pierce County for $4 million.
Link: AP News