Tag Archives: Manuel Ellis

The Morning Update Show — 5/28/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Friday, May 28

Charges Filed in Manuel Ellis Case | Where Is Seattle’s ARPA Money Going? | Seattle Public Libraries Open Up | Seattle Dying? Not by a Long Shot! | #FeelGoodFriday

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 5/28/21

Three Tacoma Police Officers Charged in the Killing of Manuel Ellis

by Will James, Kari Plog, and Lilly Ana Fowler

(This article was previously published by KNKX and has been reprinted with permission.)


Three Tacoma police officers have been charged with felonies in the March, 2020, killing of Manuel Ellis, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday — after multiple investigations into a case that has set off protests and resulted in changes in statewide police accountability laws.

Ferguson charged Officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins with second-degree murder and Officer Timothy Rankine with first-degree manslaughter.

Continue reading Three Tacoma Police Officers Charged in the Killing of Manuel Ellis

Manuel Ellis’ Death Looms Large at Tacoma Bill Signings Even Without His Family There

by Kari Plog

(This article was previously published by KNKX and has been reprinted with permission.)


Gov. Jay Inslee traveled to Tacoma on Tuesday, May 18, to sign a suite of police accountability measures that were passed by the State Legislature earlier this year. 

The bill signing happened at the Eastside Community Center, just five miles from the intersection where Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police last year.

All of the speakers, including state lawmakers and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, acknowledged the historic nature of the measures — a dozen in total — that aim to address systemic racism in policing.   

“These bills are all going to work in coordination with one another to create a system of accountability and integrity stronger than anywhere else in the nation,” Inslee said in his opening remarks. 

Continue reading Manuel Ellis’ Death Looms Large at Tacoma Bill Signings Even Without His Family There

OPINION: The Chauvin Verdict is Simply Justice. Why Are We Celebrating It?

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article previously appeared in The Seattle Times and is reprinted under an agreement.) 


Derek Chauvin was finally held accountable Tuesday for the murder of George Floyd, but joy skipped over me. 

Despite the explosion of honking horns near my workspace following Judge Peter Cahill’s reading of guilty on all counts, relief was the only thing that came over me.

Continue reading OPINION: The Chauvin Verdict is Simply Justice. Why Are We Celebrating It?

‘Silent March’ in Tacoma Commemorates Manuel Ellis Ahead of Anniversary of His Death

by Will James

(This article is co-published with KNKX )


Days before the anniversary of Manuel Ellis’ death, about 200 people marched a mile through Tacoma, quiet except for the beating of a drum.

The “silent march” on Sunday, Feb. 28, was organized by Black religious leaders in Tacoma to commemorate Ellis, who was killed by Tacoma police on March 3, 2020.

Continue reading ‘Silent March’ in Tacoma Commemorates Manuel Ellis Ahead of Anniversary of His Death

Following Tacoma Police Department Incident, New Calls for Justice Regarding History of Excessive Use of Force

by Elizabeth Turnbull 


After a Tacoma Police officer ran his vehicle through a crowd of people on Saturday, Jan. 23, unresolved questions about the police killing of Manuel Ellis and other past incidents of excessive use of force led to renewed calls from the community for police oversight. Meanwhile, the response from City of Tacoma officials to the incident this past weekend was disappointing for some. 

Following the event, a small protest emerged on Saturday night, and another on Sunday night. In response to the officer’s actions, protesters on Sunday night lit a large fire, damaged buildings, and marched with signs near the intersection where the officer plowed into onlookers. 

Continue reading Following Tacoma Police Department Incident, New Calls for Justice Regarding History of Excessive Use of Force

The Morning Update Show — 1/4/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and whereweconverge.com.

We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Monday, Jan. 4

Happy New Year! | Accusations of Racism at Children’s Hospital |
Who Was Odessa Brown? | New Developments in Manuel Ellis Case | Black & Tan Hall Is on Its Way | Seattle Renters Outnumber Homeowners

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 1/4/21

How I Survived the Collision of Racism and the Stigma of Mental Illness

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article first ran in The Seattle Times and appears under a co-publishing agreement)


Survivor’s guilt terrorizes me sometimes. Why am I so lucky when others sharing my complexion and battling mental health struggles are not? That question arises every time I read about Black people with mental illnesses killed by police: Charleena Lyles, Daniel Prude, Manuel Ellis. Their specters summon us to the reality of a nation besotted with violence and indifferent to the vulnerable.

The 55 people with mental illnesses killed in Washington state by police since 2015, according to The Washington Post’s police-shooting database, also prompt reflection on my luck in avoiding their fate as I live with bipolar disorder.

In 2018, I had a psychotic episode in the middle of downtown Seattle. Walking down Fifth Avenue, with a mind crammed with carnage, I nearly destroyed my lungs screaming that I wanted to kill myself. 

My mother was by my side. 

Nearly a foot shorter and 60 pounds lighter, she could only pray. My sizzling brain cells were impervious to pleas of reason. 

Frightened for her son, she had only two options: somehow calm me down enough to try to stuff me into an Uber headed for family and friends, or call 911.

She did a rapid assessment: Black man, non-responsive, frantic. She pictured a police encounter quickly escalating into violence.

“What if they kill my son?”

She wanted to avoid the gnawing guilt that plagues Joe Prude, as he told The New York Times’ Daily podcast, after he called the police to assist his brother Daniel during a mental health crisis. Daniel’s encounter with them ended in death, ruled a homicide by complications of asphyxia.

Even if my scenario didn’t end as grotesquely, what about arrest? Turning me over to a racist criminal justice system would likely terminate any professional ambitions.

She opted not to call. Instead, she braved the horror-on-wheels that was a 30 minute Uber ride with a bellicose son, and a superhumanly patient driver.

My race meant I was six times more likely to be killed by police than a white person is, according to a Harvard study. An untreated mental illness further boosted the likelihood of death by police, 16 times as much, according to the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center. 

When the bias of race merges with the stigma of mental illness to collide with law enforcement and criminal justice systems inadequately addressing either, what else can be produced except disaster?

“Race matters and it is true that implicit bias does exist. And then you have an officer and someone in a mental health crisis who are experiencing two different realities,” says Nikki Jones, a professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies encounters between the public and police. 

It’s why current conversation around reshaping policing and our criminal justice system must be scrutinized in the context of officers being utilized as intended by society, says Jones.

“Another way we think about policing is as an institution that allows for a sufficient distribution of violence into the public. Violence is a centrality to policing. It’s demonstrated in the ability and the effort to defend police to use violence,” says Jones.

Of course that violence is not equally distributed in society. Jones points to a recent Pew poll that showed 56% of police officers agreed that it’s more useful to be aggressive in “certain” areas of the city. 

That’s a subtler way of saying Black people need to be policed more harshly. 

Imagine when that’s coupled with the force multiplier of the stigma often associated with mental illness. 

“There’s so much public misperception about violence and mental illness. If the public thinks that, then law enforcement is going to think that,” says Jennifer Piel, a University of Washington professor who helped launch the university’s Center for Mental Health, Policy, and the Law.

And there lies the heart of the problem, and the reason Black people and those with mental illnesses are overrepresented in police shootings and in the criminal justice system Piel studies. And the reason they are underrepresented in budget considerations. 

Bias feeds stigma, and stigma bias. 

It’s a reason we’ve continued hacking at our state’s mental health budget even before our pandemic without much resistance. Currently, King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency program stares down a projected $42 million shortfall.

“[T]here is no replacement for a well-funded mental health system and increased cross-system coordination of services between medical care, mental health services, and the criminal justice system,” says Piel.

Budgets, policing, policy are nothing more than visible instruments of our society, crafted with entrenched prejudices, fears and ignorance. 

Until our society commits itself to narratives rivaling our current biases, and not merely responding to those biases’ symptoms, we’ll continue having ornamental pledges to social change vanish upon backlash. 

Imagine narratives not equating Black people with a need for social control or those casting people with mental illnesses as social defects.

For them, life and death would no longer rest on chance, but consideration. 


Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald and a Seattle Times columnist.

Featured image is attributed to Victoria Pickering under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

‘The Journey Is Not Yours Alone.’ Birthday Celebration, Mural Honor Life of Manuel Ellis

by Kari Plog

(This article was originally published by KNKX and has been reprinted with permission.) 


Last Friday would have been Manuel Ellis’ 34th birthday. 

“I was there when he was born,” Regina Ellis Burnett said of her nephew. “Unfortunately, I was not there when his life was taken. We’re here to celebrate.”

It’s been nearly six months since Ellis was killed by Tacoma police. A state investigation is underway, but the family says it’s not moving fast enough. They held a press conference Friday announcing their intent to sue the City of Tacoma for $30 million in damages. Attorney James Bible has filed a precursor to the lawsuit, known as a tort claim.

Continue reading ‘The Journey Is Not Yours Alone.’ Birthday Celebration, Mural Honor Life of Manuel Ellis

Life on the Margins Special Episode: It Can Happen Here, Too

by Enrique Cerna, Jini Palmer, and Marcus Harrison Green


In this special edition of Life on the Margins, we probe deeply into the case of Manuel Ellis, a Black Tacoma man who died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody on March 3rd, 2020. The investigation into his death was seemingly dormant until it roared into the public spotlight this week after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee demanded a full investigation into the 33-year-old’s death. Since then, video footage of his fateful encounter with police, along with an audio recording of him saying the words “I can’t breathe,” have led the mayor of Tacoma to call for the firing of the four officers involved in the case. Continue reading Life on the Margins Special Episode: It Can Happen Here, Too