Manuel Ellis family attorney frustrated by ‘level of cover up, mockery of justice’

Jan 5, 2021, 12:46 PM | Updated: 2:16 pm
Tacoma, Manuel Ellis, James Bible...
Attorney James Bible speaks to the media flanked by the family of Manuel Ellis. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A new report from the independent investigation by the Washington State Patrol revealed that a fifth police officer was directly involved in the police death of Manuel Ellis. That officer has since been placed on leave.

Ellis died at the hands of Tacoma police in March 2020. An autopsy by the Pierce County medical examiner concluded that his death was a homicide. There have been no arrests and no criminal charges yet in this case. James Bible is the Ellis family attorney, and joined the Gee & Ursula Show to share his reaction to the news of another officer’s involvement.

“Last week we learned that not only was there another officer involved, but the sheriff was far more intimately involved in the killing of Manuel Ellis than we had originally known, though we did suspect such a thing,” Bible said. “[It’s] shocking, frankly. The level of cover up, the mockery of justice that we have seen in this particular case at the hands of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Tacoma Police Department has been disheartening, frustrating.”

“It’s hard to believe that there would be an actual fifth officer that so callously did what he did in this particular circumstance that would never be mentioned by Tacoma police or the sheriff’s office as they were trumpeting four officers saying that they were involved,” Bible added.

Bible read an excerpt from a report written by the fifth officer involved that says upon arrival he saw Ellis “lying face down in handcuffs,” and claims that the subject was alert and breathing, and had blood on his face and coming from his mouth.

“Clearly, if you’re laying on your stomach and you have blood coming out of your mouth, you’re having difficulty breathing,” Bible said. “It’s further restricted based on how you are actually cuffed and hogtied, and they call it hog tie for a reason. [The officer] then goes on to say, ‘due to his assaultive behavior, I placed a spit hood over the subject’s head to protect everyone on scene from possible exposure.'”

“Now this is essentially what this person did that was so horrific. A man was on the ground, hogtied on his stomach, barely breathing, saying, ‘I can’t breathe, sir,’ and rather than providing this man with assistance, a spit mask was put over his head, further restricting his ability to breathe,” Bible said.

That’s what happened, Bible clarified, according to the fifth officer himself in his own police report that the Tacoma Police Department had in-hand since March 5.

“This report was entered on March 4th. It was printed on March 5th. So they had this report. They were aware of Armando Farinas. They knew what he had done,” Bible said. “They knew that one of the sheriffs had actually participated in the hobbling, a.k.a. hogtying, of Manuel Ellis at the time that they actually let the Pierce County Sheriff be the quote unquote ‘independent investigation’ before it was taken over by the state.”

“I can concretely say that if there were not an independent investigation by the Washington State Patrol and the Attorney General’s Office, we would not be in a place where we knew the information that we know now about what was done to the body of Manuel Ellis on that horrific day, by the Tacoma Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office,” Bible added.

The Washington State Patrol says the independent investigation is completed, Bible said.

“What’s happened is that the taxpayers continue to pay for officers that are wayward in the city of Tacoma and in Pierce County,” he said. “The action absolutely needs to occur. There is no excuse for these officers not to be fired by the city manager there. … The city manager is derelict in her duties, the City Council is not holding the city manager responsible.”

“Nothing has happened in this case, except for the people have got more information and got more outraged about what’s actually occurred,” he added. “What we know is that this is a systematic cover-up that needs to be addressed. And I can’t tell you how many times Pierce County and the City of Tacoma has covered up incidents just like this one over the years.”

Tacoma Police Department ramps up rollout of body-worn cameras

The attorneys and social justice organizations are continuing to investigation this case and push for criminal prosecution of the offending officers, Bible said, and the firing of those that covered up the case. He also said they believe that Ed Troyer, now Pierce County Sheriff, should be recalled “because this is such a dereliction of duty that it should impact his current tenure.”

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office told KIRO 7 TV that they have no response at this time as this is an active investigation. The Gee & Ursula Show has reached out to Troyer for comment.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

vaccine, kids...
Gee and Ursula Show

Virologist: ‘Time interval’ between doses will be important in vaccinations for kids

Dr. Rasmussen explains why, in her opinion, there should be enough clinical data to support emergency authorization of a vaccine for kids ages 5-11.
11 hours ago
Sara Nelson...
Gee and Ursula Show

Seattle council candidate Sara Nelson outlines plan for homelessness, policing

Seattle City Council Position 9 candidate Sara Nelson calls for added encampment sweeps and police accountability over defunding.
3 days ago
Gee and Ursula Show

Superintendent: More ‘issues with adults’ over masking rule than students

The state Superintendent says things are going "pretty darn well" as schools reopened. He credits that success to COVID rules, which include masking.
5 days ago
Vaccine mandate...
Gee and Ursula Show

With Washington’s vaccine mandate deadline imminent, a minority chooses resignation

KIRO Radio speaks with the minority coalition which has decided to take a stand against the vaccine mandate and accept termination or resignation.
6 days ago
students, vaccine...
Gee and Ursula Show

State Superintendent says any future vaccine mandate for students will be ‘statewide’

The state Superintendent of Public Instruction says there won't be a vaccine mandate for students until there's full federal approval of a vaccine for kids.
7 days ago
Seattle City Attorney abolitionist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, candidate...
Gee and Ursula Show

‘I didn’t think anybody took me that seriously,’ Seattle candidate says about anti-police tweets

Seattle city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy tells Gee and Ursula how she would run the office and responds to tweets she posted in 2020.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Manuel Ellis family attorney frustrated by ‘level of cover up, mockery of justice’