Manuel Ellis: Washington governor announces new investigation into Tacoma man’s police custody death

Manuel Ellis: Washington governor announces new investigation into Tacoma man’s police custody death
Attorney James Bible, flanked by the family of Manuel Ellis and members of the Tacoma Action Collective, speaks to the media during a press conference at the Emerald Queen Riverboat Casino on June 9, 2020, in Tacoma, Washington. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday announced a new investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis, a black man who died earlier this year while in the custody of Tacoma police, according to KIRO-TV.

“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 obtained by KIRO-TV. “Instead, there must be a new investigation and charging decision made independent of Pierce County law enforcement.”

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The decision came shortly after KIRO-TV’s Kevin McCarty reported that Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett had asked 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 probe also comes one day after the attorney for Ellis’ family furthered calls for an independent investigation into the 33-year-old’s March 3 death, which has been ruled a homicide.

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: