Cops who murdered unarmed Black man will each receive $500,000

Three officers who were acquitted by a jury for the murder of Manuel Ellis will each receive a big payout after agreeing not to return to the Tacoma Police Department.

Each officer, Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, and Timothy Rankine, will receive $500,000 if they say bye to the police department. 

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department initially claimed that Ellis had attacked a police car and officers, leading to the arrest.

State prosecutors quoted civilian witnesses as saying that Ellis did not attack the police car or officers; they also said it was the officers who attacked Ellis after a conversation. It showed a video of the incident showing officers repeatedly punching Ellis, choking him, using a laser, and kneeling on him.

A jury cleared all three of any wrongdoing in Ellis’s murder.

Collins, 40, and Burbank, 38, were charged with 2nd-degree murder and 1st-degree manslaughter. They were found not guilty on all counts. Rankine, 34, was charged with 1st-degree manslaughter. He was also found not guilty.

They were acquitted in the 2020 death of Ellis, a Black man who was beaten, hogtied, and was hospitalized when he complained he could not breathe.

The Ellis family settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Pierce County, which is home to Tacoma, for $4 million last year.

Ellis, 33, was the father of two children and a talented musician. 

He had also struggled with addiction and mental health issues, his family shared.

Hours before encountering police on the night he died, he had attended a church service where he played the drums. 

“He called his mother, brother, and sister individually to share his joy,” The Tacoma News Tribune reported.

He stopped by Donuts, where police arrested and beat him.