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

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma police union fired off an angry response to Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards after she called for officers involved in the death of African American man Manuel Ellis to be fired and prosecuted.

Woodards made the statement after watching newly released video that shows the fatal confrontation.

Ellis died in handcuffs while being restrained on the ground by Tacoma police. The Pierce County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

In the letter titled, “Now is the time for facts, not theatrics,” Tacoma Police Union Local No. 6 President Chris Tracy said Woodards passed judgment on four Tacoma officers without “an ounce of evidence.” He said she called officers criminals and said they should be prosecuted on the basis of less than a minute of short, blurry, partial Twitter videos without an investigation and due process.

Tracy said what happened to George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of police was wrong, but the incident involving Ellis was not the same, and the four Tacoma officers -- Burbank, Collins, Ford and Rankine -- did not murder Ellis.

“What’s perhaps most shocking in the mayor’s statement is her lack of knowledge about any of the four involved officers. Does she know that one of the officers is African American? Does she know that they are fathers and sons, brothers and uncles? Does she know that some are military veterans who served our nation with honor? Does she even care? Apparently not, if it means interfering with her hyperbolic storyline that four Tacoma officers murdered an African American man,” the letter said.

Tracy said the union welcomes a full and fair investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and a review by the prosecuting attorney because the facts will show the public that the officers did nothing wrong.

“This is a time for leadership. This is a time for reason. This is a time for healing our nation, our state, and our city. This is not the time to sacrifice dedicated public servants at the altar of public sentiment, especially when that sentiment is almost wholly fueled by the uninformed anger of a theatrical politician,” the letter said.

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