The crowd rallied outside the Tacoma, Washington Police Department Thursday calling for the firings of officers involved in restraining Manuel Ellis.
Ellis, a black man, died March 3 after being handcuffed and restrained by officers. He could be heard on police scanner traffic saying “I can’t breathe” after he was handcuffed.
The four officers are on administrative leave as an investigation by the Washington State patrol is underway.
The family of another black man, shot and killed during a traffic stop in a different city, also attended Thursday’s protest.
Said Joquin died May 1, killed by a police officer in Lakewood, less than 20 minutes from Tacoma. His sister, Deatura, and mother came from North Carolina for the protest.
Deatura said, “Cause it just confuses me how the world keeps going after this happened. ’cause my world stopped. So yeah. It’s just hard for me to keep going through regular life so I just stay in the house.”
The family is frustrated by the lack of information Said’s killing. Deatura explained, “It’s no transparency. It’s no… the police just keep saying they won’t give us anything until they’re done with their investigation.”
Manuel Ellis protest organizer Cordarryl Woodford said, “We want body cams. We want more. You have to keep coming out, you have to keep applying pressure, you have to keep coming to the front doorstep in order to get justice.”
Lakewood Police Officer Mike Wiley said he pulled Said Joquin over for a rolling stop sign.
Wiley said he saw a gun on the passenger side of the car and told Joquin to put his hands on his head, but moments later Wiley shot Joquin because he said Joquin started to lower his hands.
Joquin’s family disputes that account, based on reports from a relative who was in the vehicle.
Wiley is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation into Joquin’s death.
Lakewood police officials said they cannot comment until the case is over.
Manuel Ellis’ autopsy report lists his death as a homicide, while also citing a high level of methamphetamine in his system.
The report says he died from a lack of oxygen from physical restraint, positioning, and the placement of a spit mask over his face.
But the report also added, “It is unlikely that this death would have occurred due to physical restraint alone, without the contributing conditions. An argument could be made that the extremely high methamphetamine concentration should be considered the primary factor.”