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City of Tacoma Statement on the Verdicts in State of Washington v. TPD Officers Burbank, Collins & Rankine

City of Tacoma Statement on the Verdicts in State of Washington v. TPD Officers Burbank, Collins & Rankine

December 21, 2023


The City of Tacoma acknowledges today’s not guilty verdicts in the State of Washington vs. Tacoma Police Officers Burbank, Collins, and Rankine may exacerbate the pain caused by the death of Mr. Ellis. 


The past nearly four years have been filled with wide-spread anger, mistrust, and apprehension and have severely divided the people of this city. Even though this criminal process has concluded, Tacoma’s elected and city leaders understand there are many questions about where we all go from here, as a city, as a community, and as a police department. 


With today’s verdicts, we affirm and recommit our dedication to accountability and transformation does not end, and the following processes have already begun:

  • Because the not guilty verdicts do not impact the Tacoma Police Department’s internal investigation, it is important for that process to be finalized, independent of the criminal trial.
  • To that end, as courthouse testimony concluded December 6, Tacoma Police Department Internal Affairs immediately resumed its internal investigation into the three officers’ conduct on March 3, 2020, to include the officers’ own testimony on the witness stand.
  • Although the criminal trial ultimately resulted in not guilty verdicts, TPD is committed to finalizing its own investigation for administrative completeness regarding use of force and courtesy violations.
  • TPD expects to complete its internal investigation within the next 24 hours.
  • Once complete, the results of that internal investigation will be reviewed by Chief Avery Moore. 
  • Within 10 business days of the jury announcing its verdict, Chief Moore will make his decision on potential discipline, up to and including termination. 
  • If any discipline may include financial impacts to the officers, Chief Moore is bound by law to hold pre-disciplinary (Loudermill) hearings, which he will schedule with the required 72-hour notice. 
  • Chief Moore will make any final disciplinary decisions within 14 business days of the verdict.
  • Those decisions will be shared with the public.   

No criminal trial will bring Mr. Ellis back to his loved ones. The City of Tacoma acknowledges this and the widespread pain this incident caused. City leaders and the Tacoma Police Department will continue their combined commitment to creating a just and transparent model of public safety that aligns with the City’s on-going efforts to build trust in TPD’s employees and the City overall.


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