TACOMA -- Video provided to the family of Manuel Ellis shows a new angle of his struggle with Tacoma officers the night he died in police custody.
In the newly released video, you can see an officer take Ellis down to the ground using a chokehold, while another officer administers what looks like a taser.
It appears he's in that hold for at least 10 seconds before the officer releases him on his stomach. The video was taken by an anonymous witness who captured the interaction with police. There's no audio on the video that was given to Q13 News.
A few seconds pass before the struggle continues, and the video does raise some question about where the officer's knee is. Ellis, 33, died moments after police called for medics to respond.
Manuel Ellis (family photo)
"The department has sought to mislead the public and deflect responsibility in relation to the murder of Manny Ellis," James Bible, the Ellis family's attorney, said. "It is time for a shift in leadership ... Manny was murdered by individuals that had a sworn duty to protect and serve."
Known to his friends and family as "Manny," Ellis was walking in the intersection of 96th Street and South Ainsworth Avenue about 11:30 p.m. on March 3 when he had an encounter with police.
Four responding officers -- who were recently placed on administrative leave -- said Ellis attacked police and was in a state of "excited delirium," but the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled his death a homicide - respiratory arrest due to hypoxia caused by physical restraint. The ME's office said drug intoxication and an underlying heart condition were also contributing factors.
His autopsy report was released in early June, the same week protests erupted around the world in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Ellis's family has been open about his struggle with drugs, but they have maintained there was no reason for the use-of-force that led to his death more than three months ago.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was the initial agency tasked with conducting an independent investigation into Ellis's death, but the state has since taken over, citing a conflict of interest with the sheriff's office, the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office and Washington State Patrol. Pierce County deputies and a WSP trooper were at the scene the night Ellis died.
The Tacoma Police Union and the sheriff's office have both maintained that Ellis's death was not like the case of George Floyd, whose death has led to criminal charges against the officers involved.
"This is not a 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 union said in a prepared statement following Mayor Victoria Woodards' calls for the Tacoma officers to be fired.