Pierce County high-profile trial begins today: Info and resources for the public

Dear friends and neighbors, 

I’m reaching out with some information as our community prepares for the trial of the three Tacoma Police Department (TPD) officers charged with the murder and manslaughter of Manuel Ellis during March 2020.

Manny Ellis’ death was tragic and preventable. Over the last few years we’ve passed legislation to help prevent the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, including creating standards for police use of force that require exhausting all de-escalation options and increased accountability and oversight when force is used.

While these changes help make everyone safer going forward, they don’t erase what happened to Mr. Ellis. Our criminal justice system is supposed to provide accountability and justice. As we all know, that doesn’t always happen. I hope we experience it in this case. I also want to recognize how the renewed coverage of Mr. Ellis’ death will be difficult or traumatic for Mr. Ellis’ family and friends and for many in our community. His loss is a challenging reminder of the ways our society is still reckoning with racism and anti-blackness.

With all that in mind, I am passing along some resources to help you know what to expect as the trial continues. The jury has been selected, and the trial itself could take as long as 8-12 weeks. Pierce County has put together a website for this trial that includes an FAQ, information on the timeline and process, case documents, and more.

They have also provided information about in-person attendance and virtual streaming options.

If you have questions, there is also a two-minute video that covers the process for high profile trials and what to expect.