Inslee announces new investigation into death of Manuel Ellis

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“I have become convinced that the Pierce County Sheriff should not complete the investigation of the death of Manuel Ellis and the county prosecutor should not review the investigation and make charging decisions. Instead, there must be a new investigation and charging decision made independent of Pierce County law enforcement.

“I came to this conclusion in consultation with Attorney General Bob Ferguson after the county prosecutor informed the state late yesterday that the Pierce County Sheriff’s department had officers at the scene when Mr. Ellis was detained and died. In light of this new information, the county prosecutor believes that she has an irreconcilable conflict that would preclude her office from handling this case.

“Separately, we were informed that a Washington State Patrol trooper responded to a call for assistance and was at the scene briefly while Mr. Ellis was in custody and still alive. The patrol is obtaining details from that trooper.

"At this point we are working to determine who will conduct the independent investigation and who will make charging decisions. That said, the state will ensure an independent investigation and independent prosecutorial review into the death of Manuel Ellis. We will ensure that the work is done free of conflicts of interest.

”Finally, I want to offer my apologies to Mr. Ellis’ family who now will have to wait longer for the fair and thorough investigation this case demands and which they deserve.”

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