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Manuel Ellis Case FAQs

Manuel Ellis Case FAQs
The City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Police Department are committed to transparent and timely communications. This web page includes frequently asked questions regarding the Manuel Ellis case. We will update as information is available.


For additional information on this case, including reports, charging decision documents, press releases and statements, visit our Police and Use of Deadly Force web page and click on the 'Manuel Ellis Case' button. 


(Last updated June 1, 2021)


Frequently Asked Questions


When were the officers arrested?
The Washington State Patrol was the lead agency in carrying out the Attorney General’s Office warrant. The three officers who were charged by the Attorney General's Office were booked into the Pierce County Sheriff Office Jail on the evening of May 27, 2021.

What is a charging decision?
A charging decision begins the criminal justice process and the court proceedings.

Will the officers charged be immediately fired, or will that depend on a conviction?

The Tacoma Police Department will review employment and leave status of the officers charged in this incident. The Tacoma Police Department must adhere to all legal and contractual requirements and remains committed to ensuring police accountability.


Will the officers who were not charged in the incident return to work?

The employment and leave status of all of the officers are currently under review. The department has initiated an administrative investigations. Updates on the administrative investigations are available at the Use of Deadly Force web page under the Manuel Ellis Case.


How will the police department ensure that the officers who return to duty are prepared and safe to do so?

The officers returning to regular duty will go through the body worn camera training as well as attend all legal and departmental required training prior to going back to patrol.


What is an administrative investigation?
An administrative investigation is an internal process that reviews the conduct of the officers and determines if they violated any departmental policies or procedures. The criminal investigation reports will be reviewed as part of the investigation.

When will the process of reviewing their compliance with policies begin after the charging decision is announced?

The Tacoma Police Department will start its standard administrative internal investigation of the actions of our officers involved in the incident now that the criminal investigation is complete. Based on that investigation we will make further determination about any disciplinary actions, policy or training changes that may occur based on the findings.

Will the review of compliance with policies rely on the investigations already completed, or involve its own internal investigation?

The police department will use all information available to conduct an internal review of the actions of the officers involved in the incident.


Where can the Local 6 IUPA Tacoma Police Union Collective Bargaining Agreement with the City of Tacoma be found?

City of Tacoma agreements can be found on the Collective Bargaining Agreements web page. For the Local 6 IUPA Tacoma Police Union Agreement, scroll down to the 'Public Safety Unit' section.


Why wasn’t an administrative review done earlier?

We have been committed to protecting the integrity and independence of the criminal investigation, in doing so, we have delayed the administrative investigation until the criminal investigation is complete. We will evaluate all records and report provided to us by the Attorney General’s office.

When will the administrative investigation be complete?
The Tacoma Police Department has convened a special investigative body to review all information pertinent to the case. We recognize the importance of having a thorough investigation and to complete the investigation as quickly as possible.

Why are the officers still on paid administrative leave?
Officers will remain on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the administrative investigations and findings, which is in alignment with state, local and contractual laws and requirements.

Has the police department made any policy or procedure changes due to the Ellis incident?

The department has made several policy and procedure changes in the past year, including:

  • Transport Hood procedures updated effective January 24, 2021
  • Leg restraint procedures updated effective December 14, 2020
  • Body Worn Camera program fully implemented for uniformed patrol March 1, 2021
  • A ban on chokehold/neck restraints updated effective November 2, 2020.

While the Body Worn Camera program had already begun, the other three were in response to updating policies and procedures after the in-custody death of Manuel Ellis.


Has the Chief or department remained in contact with the officers?

The department has regular contact with officers who are on administrative leave. 


How will the Tacoma Police Department help the community heal?

The Tacoma Police Department is committed to working with the community to develop stronger relationships.

  • Continuing to assess our policies that lead to inequitable and disproportionate outcomes for our communities of color.
  • Continuing to implement measures that make the department more transparent.
  • Building networks and relationships within our Black and Brown communities that create avenues of access.
  • Building understanding and trust within our community.
  • Continuing to understand the historic and present causes of racism in policing, nationally and locally, and work on disrupting the systems that keep it in place.

What are the steps of the Administrative Review process?

  • Serve Notice of Investigations on involved officers.
  • Request all communications and reports related to the investigation.
  • Review all of the communications and reports.
  • Identify officers and witnesses involved in the investigation.
  • Determine whether further information is needed and request interviews if required.
  • Conduct interviews that are determined to be needed.
  • Collect and document facts determined from the investigation and how they relate to Tacoma Police Department Policies and Procedures.
  • Provide to the Bureau Commander.
  • Facts evaluated by the Bureau Commander, recommendations made and sent to Police Chief.
  • Police Chief reviews recommendations and determines final outcome of Review.