Tacoma officers Christopher Burbank, 35, and Matthew Collins, 38, pleaded not guilty to their second-degree murder charges during their virtual appearances in Pierce County Superior Court. Collins also pleaded not guilty to a first-degree manslaughter charge, Q13 FOX 已报告.
A third officer, 32-year-old Timothy Rankine, also pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter on Friday, 根据报告.
All three officers wore coronavirus face masks and orange jail-issued jumpsuits during their hearings.
The charges stem from the March 2020 arrest and death of Ellis, 33. Tasered, handcuffed and hogtied, with his face covered by a spit hood, he did just weeks before George Floyd’s death triggered a nationwide reckoning on race and policing.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner called Ellis’ death a homicide due to a lack of oxygen caused by restraint, with an enlarged heart and methamphetamine intoxication as contributing factors.
The death made Ellis’ name synonymous with pleas for justice at protests in the Pacific Northwest. His final words — “I can’t breathe, 先生!” — were captured by a home security camera, as was the retort from one of the officers: “Shut the (脏话) 向上, man.”
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson charged Burbank and Collins, who are White, after witnesses reported that they attacked Ellis without provocation, 据官员说. 与此同时, Rankine, who is Asian American, is accused of kneeling on Ellis’ back and shoulder as he died from a lack of oxygen, 根据 a probable cause statement.