Officer acquitted in Manny Ellis’ death, hired in Thurston County resigns

Apr 3, 2024, 1:41 PM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Photo: Manny Ellis trial....

From left, Matthew Collins, Christopher Burbank and Timothy Rankine, all former police officers with Tacoma PD, sit in court. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

The Tacoma Police Department (TPD) Officer who was acquitted in the death of Manuel (Manny) Ellis has resigned two days after he was sworn in by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO).

Past coverage: ‘Business as usual:’ KIRO hosts disagree on Thurston County hiring cop acquitted in Ellis’ death

Christopher Burbank was one of three TPD officers charged and found not guilty by a jury in the murder of Manny Ellis.

Background: 3 police officers found not guilty in Manny Ellis case

Burbank was hired by TCSO as a lateral patrol deputy on Monday. His hiring was announced via a Facebook post, which garnered many comments from the community saying they did not want him in their sheriff’s office.

“If you think we have already forgotten Burbank, you are wrong! Keep this guy OUT of our communities!” wrote one Facebook user.

Then on Wednesday, TSCO announced Burbank’s resignation via a letter posted on its Facebook page.

The letter from Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders states his apology for his “misjudged community perception on the investigation and jury process that Deputy Burbank completed.”

“I recognize the harm this has caused to marginalized communities, and I was wrong,” wrote Sanders.

Burbank resigns following community reaction, death threats

Sanders said the resignation decision came from the reaction from the community and that Burbank and his family have received death threats.

Sanders also cited an “immense pressure to fill TCSO’s vacancies.” He said because TCSO is one of the lowest paying agencies, it has lost dozens of staff and has struggled to recruit.

Sanders ended the letter with another apology to the community.

“Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. For those who have lost confidence in me, or what we’re trying to accomplish at TCSO, I apologize for letting you down. I recognize that there are spaces I may no longer be welcome in, and this is challenging for me to accept,” wrote Sanders.

Sanders also said he intends to schedule a public forum for community members to express their concerns directly.

“I will continue to learn and improve,” he wrote.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Officer acquitted in Manny Ellis’ death, hired in Thurston County resigns