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United States: three police officers indicted for the death of Manuel Ellis, black American, during his arrest

Manuel Ellis died during an arrest, in March 2020, under the same conditions as George Floyd, killed a few weeks later by Derek Chauvin.

Authorities in the US state of Washington announced Thursday, May 27, the indictment of three police officers for the death by asphyxiation in March 2020 of Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old black American, during his arrest. Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins, police officers in Tacoma, about 50 km from Seattle, are charged with murder, their colleague Timothy Rankine is being prosecuted for manslaughter, said the attorney general of this state in the northwest of the United States, Bob Ferguson. Arrest warrants have been issued against the three police officers, who face life imprisonment, he said.

Manuel Ellis was arrested on March 3, 2020, as he was returning home, on foot, after a run in a grocery store. The police assured that the 30-something had attacked them, but videos and witnesses have challenged their version of the facts. These large-sized ex-servicemen “pinned Ellis to the ground, repeatedly hit him, strangled and shot him three times with their electric pistol, without justification,” writes the prosecutor’s office. .

“I can not breathe”

“I can’t breathe,” pleaded the man, as did  George Floyd , whose death a few weeks later had worldwide repercussions. Police officer Rankine, who arrived shortly afterwards with other reinforcements, “kept Ellis on his stomach and continued to put pressure on his back although he said he could not breathe,” added the prosecutor’s services.

The death of George Floyd on May 25 of suffocation  below the knee of a Minneapolis police officer – Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in April –  had drawn attention to the case and the name of Manuel Ellis had become customary in the major demonstrations against police violence in the summer in the United States.

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