Officers’ lawyers challenge analysis of video that shows Black man’s death in Tacoma, Washington

Oct 5, 2023, 12:30 PM

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Lawyers for three police officers charged in the death of Manny Ellis on Thursday challenged a forensic video analyst’s interpretation of videos shot by witnesses that show the Black man’s fatal arrest in Tacoma, Washington.

Prosecutors also planned to call Ellis’ sister, Monét Carter-Mixon, to testify later Thursday.

Tacoma Officers Matthew Collins and Christopher Burbank, both white, are charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Ellis on March 3, 2020. Officer Timothy Rankine, who is Asian American, is charged with manslaughter. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Video evidence is key in the case against the officers. The officers say Ellis was violent toward them during the encounter, but the videos and witness statements indicate he didn’t fight back.

On Wednesday, forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks walked the jury through one of the videos, frame by frame. It shows Collins on the ground behind Ellis with his hands near his neck, and Burbank aiming his Taser at Ellis’ chest.

As Ellis holds his hands in the air in posture indicating surrender, Burbank fires the Taser and Collins puts his arm around Ellis’ neck in a chokehold. Ellis’ head falls to the ground and he stops moving.

On Thursday, attorney Jared Ausserer, representing Collins, said the video shows Ellis did not follow the officers’ repeated commands.

“Collins could be heard saying put your hands behind your back,” Ausserer said. “At no point does he put his hands behind his back.”

Fredericks disagreed.

“He put his hand behind his back. The video shows it,” he said, adding that Burbank grabbed one of Ellis’ arms that was in the air and put it behind his back.

As they played portions of the video over and over, Ausserer said it appeared that Ellis “dragged” Burbank down to the ground when he shifted his hips, but Fredericks said the video suggests that Burbank simply lost his balance.

When prosecutors played another video on Wednesday showing Collins holding Ellis on the ground and Ellis screaming as he was shocked with the Taser, sobs could be heard from the side of the courtroom where Ellis’ family and supporters were seated.

They also played video from a doorbell security camera from a home across the street. The camera captures Ellis’s pleas: “Can’t breathe, sir, Can’t breathe.”

This is the first trial under a 5-year-old Washington state law designed to make it easier to prosecute police who wrongfully use deadly force.

United States News

Associated Press

A pregnant Amish woman is killed in her rural Pennsylvania home, and police have no suspects

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Investigators have no suspects in the killing of a pregnant 23-year-old Amish woman inside her home in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, and are appealing for tips from the public to help solve the crime, a state police spokeswoman said Wednesday. Rebekah A. Byler was the victim of a criminal homicide inside her […]

11 minutes ago

Associated Press

Police in suburban Chicago are sued over a fatal shooting of a man in his home

CHICAGO (AP) — The sisters of a man fatally shot in his home this month by suburban Chicago police filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the officers and their department, alleging wrongful death and other counts. Kyenna McConico and Kennetha Barnes, sisters of Isaac Goodlow III, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago […]

2 hours ago

Workers drive among shipping containers and trailers at a BNSF intermodal terminal, Jan. 3, 2024, i...

Associated Press

US economy grew solid 3.2% in fourth quarter, a slight downgrade from government’s initial estimate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a robust 3.2% annual pace from October through December, propelled by healthy consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its initial estimate. The expansion in the nation’s gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — slipped from […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Activists mark the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Wom...

Associated Press

About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned, report finds

The number of abortions performed each month is about the same as before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion more than a year and a half ago, a new report finds. The latest edition of the #WeCount report conducted for the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit […]

2 hours ago

This undated photo shows oral historian Francine D. Spang-Willis, who is leading a project to creat...

Associated Press

Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy seeks to strengthen communities with grants for local leaders

Francine Spang-Willis wishes the landscape of the Crazy Mountains near Livingston, Montana, could speak for itself. But absent that, the oral historian will launch a new project talking to people with a connection to the land. Spang-Willis is one of a dozen new fellows announced Wednesday by the Emerson Collective, Laurene Powell Jobs’ philanthropy. In […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Tornadoes in February? In the Great Lakes? Storms leave a trail of destruction

Severe thunderstorms with large hail and several possible rare winter tornadoes toppled trees, cut power and damaged homes in the Chicago area and other parts of the Great Lakes into Wednesday morning. In Grand Blanc Township, Michigan, near Flint, a possible tornado knocked down trees and damaged homes and gas lines shortly after midnight, but […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Officers’ lawyers challenge analysis of video that shows Black man’s death in Tacoma, Washington