Gov. Inslee announces new investigation into death of Manuel Ellis

TACOMA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday announced a new investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis while in Tacoma police custody.

“I have become convinced that the Pierce County Sheriff should not complete the investigation of the death of Manuel Ellis and the county prosecutor should not review the investigation and make charging decisions,” Inslee said in a news release. “Instead, there must be a new investigation and charging decision made independent of Pierce County law enforcement.”

>> Related: More surveillance video surfaces in the death of Manuel Ellis

The announcement from Inslee came just minutes after KIRO 7’s Kevin McCarty reported that Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett asked Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to take over the investigation.

Robnett echoed Inslee’s message, saying “I call upon (Ferguson) now to act on the authority I previously granted to him to investigate and review this case."

The new investigation also comes one day after the attorney for Ellis’ family furthered calls for an independent investigation into the 33-year-old’s death.

>> Related: Tacoma police union writes angry response to mayor’s call for prosecutions in Manuel Ellis’ death

Attorney James Bible said the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office “continues to ignore the facts and (absolve) the Tacoma Police Department of any wrongdoing.”

Bible said there’s a conflict of interest in the Pierce County Sheriff Office’s investigation into the Tacoma Police Department’s handling of the situation.

“We can’t let offending agencies and their friends investigate each other. There must be justice,” Bible said.

Read the full statements from Inslee and Robnett below:

KIRO 7 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Comments on this article