TACOMA, Wash. — The mayor of Tacoma says officers involved in the death of Manuel Ellis should be fired and prosecuted after newly-released video shows the fatal confrontation.
In a late-night online speech, Mayor Victoria Woodards also said that beyond asking for the firing of the officers, she is demanding the Sheriff’s Office review every action taken by the officers on the scene.
Sarah McDowell, who shot cell phone video showing a few seconds of the Tacoma police takedown of Manuel Ellis on March 3, has a story that directly contradicts the police version of events.
The video was shared with KIRO 7 by CBS News, who interviewed McDowell about what she recalls about the confrontation.
McDowell said she saw police throw Ellis to the ground while he was walking down the sidewalk.
“The driver cop ran around the front of the car and grabs Manny and literally like flips him over, like body slams him,” said McDowell. “He knocks him to the ground and his head hit back and looked like he hit the curb. He just started punching him in the face. He punched him about ten times.”
McDowell said there’s more to what she saw than what she recorded.
“They were tasing him too,” she said. “You could just hear all the commotion.”
On Wednesday, the Pierce County medical examiner ruled that 33-year-old Manny Ellis died from respiratory arrest and a lack of oxygen, from being restrained.
Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer, who represents the investigation of the officers' use of force said Ellis attacked an officer--and police called paramedics when he said he could not breathe.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Pierce County detectives are hoping to speak with the witness about what she saw.
Investigators said Ellis was trying to open doors of vehicles and approached police, even banging on their patrol car.
Troyer said officers restrained Ellis first. He said paramedics worked on Ellis for about forty minutes.
“There were no knees on heads, there was no cutting off of circulation, none of that,” Troyer said. “He was handcuffed, he was talking he was breathing and throughout the process when he had trouble breathing, officers set him on his side and got him help."
But civil rights attorney James Bible believes the whole truth has not been revealed about Ellis’ death.
“There have been blatant misrepresentations,” Bible said. "There has been an absolute attempt to mislead the public mislead the taxpayers, mislead, mislead the people — that’s frankly in violation of our constitution.''
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