Prosecution in trial against three police officers not allowed to bring police instructors as witnesses to the stand

TACOMA, WA - On Tuesday, October 3, a trial against three Tacoma police officers began. Two of the three have been charged with second degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, while the third officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter.

On Wednesday, November 2, just about a month after the trial began, the judge made the decision to not allow testimony from police instructors with the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). 

According to the News Tribune, Judge Bryan Chushcoff ruled that prosecutors could not call said police instructors to the stand as witnesses until testimony "pointed out that the officers didn't follow their training" when they "subdued and restrained Manuel Ellis and that doing so risked the man's life."

On Wednesday, November 1, defense attorneys reportedly fought tooth and nail against the prosecutions efforts to call witnesses who trained the officers who are being charged with the death of Ellis. 

The News Tribune said that prosecutors from the Washington State Attorney General's Office had planned to call two witnesses associated with the CJTC. 

Special prosecutor Patty Eakes said that Russ Hicks, a trainer with the commission for several years, would "tell the jury exactly what training officers receive on use of force and prone positioning, dealing with people in crisis and the legal basis for police contact."

The CJTC is the body charged with training law enforcement officers in Washington state and they are also responsible for maintaining officer certifications. 

Eakes said that calling witnesses from CJTC was "critically important." However, the day before, Tuesday, October 31, one of the attorneys for officer Timothy Rankine filed a motion arguing that Hicks' testimony would only show what police officers are typically trained on and not what training the three officers actually received. 

During their opening statements, the defense said that the defendants fully followed their police training during the incident with Ellis. Prosecutors now plan to call to the stand Dr. Thomas Clark, the former Pierce County medical examiner who conducted Ellis' autopsy.

In March 2020, the manner of Ellis' death was ruled a homicide by Clark, stating that the cause of death was determined to be hypoxia from physical restraint. 

Defense attorneys for the officers have argued that the defendants subdued Ellis because he was aggressive and resisted arrest. One of the officers, Matthew Collins, reported that Ellis fought him with "superhuman strength."

Eakes said that none of the officers asked for medical aid to respond and that paramedics were only called after dispatchers asked if it was needed. Judge Chushcoff then asked how long it took for medical aid to be called after Ellis was subdued. One of the attorneys for Collins said it was 12 seconds. 

Both the prosecution and defense attorneys questioned Dr. Curtis Veal, the state's expert pulmonologist. On cross examination, Jared Ausserer, one of the defense attorneys for Collins, pointed out that after the initial struggle with Ellis, "every piece of evidence Veal had showed that Collins was holding the man's legs, which wouldn't have contributed to hypoxia."

In a redirect examination, assistant attorneys general Kent Liu asked Veal if the amount of weight officers put on Ellis or the length of time they were one top of him would in fact affect his opinion. 

Veal said it would not because Ellis' asphyxiation was a "cumulative process. Veal testified that Ellis' physical activity with the officers, being shocked with a Taser, the methamphetamine in his system and being restrained on his stomach with pressure on his back would all "increase his oxygen demands."

Officers Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, and Timothy Rankine have pleaded not guilty. 
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Perhaps the Judge, could use commonsense. B.L.M. = "BLUE LIVES MATTER". Period It's better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.


Another sad case for LE. Perhaps the leftist controlled states shouldn't have any LE at all. Then everything would improve for Black Americans living in those states. Right?

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