Manuel Ellis died in early March after being involved in an altercation with police, and a medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by physical restraint.
"I Can't Breathe" police-related deaths are becoming far too common. Eric Garner uttered those words when he was choked to death by officers, George Floyd cried out for his mother and begged an officer not to kill him before making "I can't breathe" his final words on earth, and on March 3 in Tacoma, Washington, 33-year-old Manuel Ellis said the same phrase as police restrained him.
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According to an autopsy, Manuel Ellis died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia and being physically restrained. He was handcuffed at the time, and the medical examiner also determined that heart disease and methamphetamine intoxication were contributing factors. It was 11:30 p.m. on March 3 when police reportedly saw Ellis attempting to break windows of vehicles and pulling at handles. A police report states that Ellis walked up to the patrol car and told police that he was seeking help. He allegedly also mentioned that he had warrants for his arrest.
Police claim that while speaking with Ellis, he grabbed one of them by his vest. The second officer reportedly exited the patrol car, wrestled Ellis to the ground, and handcuffed him. While it was noted that no batons or tasers were used, nor was a knee placed on Ellis's neck, he was somehow restrained enough to cause his death. It has not been specified what that restraint was, but it was reported that Manuel Ellis stated, "I can't breathe."
The father of two was remembered by his loved ones at a press conference on Tuesday (June 2). “Manny was taken from me, he was murdered,” said Ellis's mother Marcia Carter. “My heart hurt. I cried for two months and 10 days, every day, all day.” She added that his last words to her were, "Remember, I love you." Ellis's death was ruled a homicide and it's reported that the officers involved in the incident that lead to Manuel Ellis's death have been placed on administrative leave.