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Manuel Ellis: Family reaches $Four million settlement in his loss of life

The Pierce County Council formally permitted the $4,010,000 settlement settlement Tuesday afternoon, the council mentioned in an announcement.

“As always, litigation settlements are made with risk management principles in mind. We recognize that the family and friends of Manuel Ellis are grieving, and we hope this settlement will give them some measure of closure,” mentioned Adam Faber, a spokesperson for the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The lawsuit, filed within the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, named as defendants the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, six Tacoma officers — three of whom face legal prices — and two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies.

The settlement settlement means the claims in opposition to the county and the 2 deputies have been dropped, however the lawsuit will proceed in opposition to the opposite defendants.

Matthew A. Ericksen Sr., an lawyer for Ellis’ mom and sister, counseled Pierce County for opting to settle the lawsuit, which claimed violations of Ellis’ constitutional rights in addition to assault, wrongful loss of life, intentional infliction of emotional misery and negligence.

“We are happy to have reached this agreement with the County. Nothing about the last 2 years has been easy for the Ellis family,” Ericksen mentioned in an announcement, “but at the end of the day I commend Pierce County for making the deliberate decision to seek a compromise rather than litigating this lawsuit to the nth degree.”

“By reaching this resolution Pierce County has established a foundation upon which the Ellis family and the community can begin the process of moving forward,” he mentioned. “At the same time, we will continue to aggressively pursue our claims against the City of Tacoma.”

Ellis died March 3, 2020, after he went to a 7-Eleven to get snacks, the household’s lawsuit says. He was strolling dwelling with a field of raspberry doughnuts and a bottle of water, the lawsuit says, when he was stopped by two Tacoma cops.

Police tried to arrest Ellis for allegedly “trying to open car doors of occupied vehicles,” town’s police division beforehand mentioned, and Ellis was restrained after a bodily altercation. The reason for his loss of life was respiratory arrest resulting from hypoxia brought on by bodily restraint, in line with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office. Hypoxia is a situation through which the physique is disadvantaged of oxygen.
Ellis was heard in an audio recording of police dispatch crying “I can’t breathe,” echoing a few of the final phrases of different Black individuals who died in confrontations with police. Weeks after Ellis’ loss of life, George Floyd uttered the identical phrases as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for greater than 9 minutes, killing him.
Three Tacoma cops have been criminally charged in Ellis’ loss of life: Timothy Rankine was charged with first-degree manslaughter, whereas Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins had been charged with second-degree homicide, in line with the Washington state Attorney General’s Office.
All three have pleaded not responsible and had been launched final May after posting $100,000 bail.
Two different Tacoma officers had been cleared and returned to work in December after being investigated for coverage violations associated to Ellis’ loss of life, the division introduced.

CNN’s Jenn Selva and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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