Ex-Cop Found Not Guilty In Manuel Ellis' Death Gets New Police Job

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One of the former Tacoma, Washington police officers found not guilty in the 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man whose death drew parallels to the murder of George Floyd, has been hired by a new department.

According to King5 News, ex-Tacoma officer Christopher Burbank was hired by the Thurston County Sheriff's Office as a deputy.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office said Burbanks was the first lateral patrol deputy to apply and pass all places of their background checks since 2021. The sheriff's office also noted that it will be the "first time in years" that they will be fully staffed with no vacancies on patrol.

The hiring comes after Burbank was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in Ellis' death.

Ellis died in police custody in Tacoma, Washington on March 3, 2020.

In footage shown during a trial for the officers involved, police put an unarmed Ellis in a chokehold, tased him, and pinned him to the ground. Ellis can be heard in the footage saying to officers "Can't breathe, sir, can't breathe."

Lawyers for the officers argued that Ellis died from a lethal dose of methamphetamine and an existing heart condition. They also claimed that Ellis kicked the door of a police car during the incident.

Witnesses told the jury that the officers were the aggressors and made an unprovoked effort to subdue Ellis.

Burbank, and two other officers, Matthew Collins and Timothy Rankine, were found not guilty of all charges at the trial's conclusion in December 2023. The city of Tacoma cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, and they all received $500,000 to resign from the department "in good standing."

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