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Tacoma Police Dept. to pay acquitted officers $500K each to resign

The three cops once blamed for his death of Manuel Ellis will now receive a half-million dollars each to leave their jobs.
Tacoma Police Dept. to pay acquitted officers $500K each to resign
Posted at 8:21 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 20:22:23-05

Four years after Manuel Ellis died on a Tacoma, Washington, street while in the custody of city police officers, the three cops once blamed for his death will now receive a half-million dollars each to leave their jobs.

In documents released Tuesday, a "voluntary separation" agreement has been made between the city of Tacoma and the three acquitted police officers: Timothy Rankine, Matthew Collins and Christopher Burbank.

That agreement shows that the city will pay them $500,000 each to leave the Tacoma Police Department.

The officers have been on paid leave since 2020, when they were accused of using excessive force against Manuel Ellis.

The officers claimed Ellis tried to open the door of a passing car and then became aggressive when they tried to question him about it. 

This comes after Tacoma police chief Avery Moore said that an internal affairs investigation shows that none of the three violated the department's use of force policy in the March 3 arrest. Collins was found to have violated the courtesy policy for swearing during the arrest of Ellis. 

That policy, however, has since been updated. In a statement Chief Moore said Tuesday after the decision went public: "The Use of Force policy in place in March of 2020 failed to serve the best interests of the police department or the community. However, because it was policy at the time, it guided my decisions."

In December, protesters showed dismay after the three officers were cleared of all criminal charges in the death of Manuel Ellis.

Last week, the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle said it would review the case, possibly paving the way for future federal charges against the police for violating Ellis' civil rights.

In a statement to the AP, Matthew Ericksen, attorney for the Ellis family, called the move to pay out the cops perverse, saying "The worst TPD officers are also the highest paid TPD officers!"

Last year, the Ellis family settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Pierce County for $4 million.

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