Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today on the investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis:
“In 2018, Washingtonians overwhelmingly passed Initiative 940 with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The new law requires that completely independent agencies investigate law enforcement’s use of deadly force.
“It is my understanding that the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office did not comply with the requirements of I-940. For example, I learned late yesterday that Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies were present at the scene when Manuel Ellis was detained and died. It is disturbing that the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office is only now, after more than three months, revealing its involvement. To be blunt, the result is a totally unnecessary delay in the investigation of this case. Ultimately, Pierce County must answer for its failure to comply with I-940, issue an apology to the Ellis family, and immediately implement reforms to ensure investigations comply with the law.
“I am working with the Governor to ensure an independent law enforcement investigation, and once that is complete, an independent charging decision free of any conflicts. The Ellis family and the public deserve a process they can trust, and that is my priority right now.”