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A former Tacoma police officer seeks $47 million from the state of Washington for 'falsely' accusing him of racist and criminal conduct

This is Timothy Rankine, who was acquitted of criminal charges for the death of Manny Ellis in 2020.

Un exoficial de Policía de Tacoma reclama $47 millones al estado de Washington por acusarlo “falsamente” de conducta racista y criminal

In the image, former agent Timothy Rankine. (Capture KING 5 Seattle)

Former Tacoma police officer Timothy Rankine is seeking $47 million from the city and state of Washington for “falsely” accusing him of criminal and racist behavior in the controversial case of Manny Ellis, a black man who died in 2020 after being electrocuted, beaten and held face down on a sidewalk by three police officers.

Rankine, who is Asian American, was acquitted of criminal charges in Ellis' death along with officers Matthew Collins and Christopher Burbank, who were the first to arrive at the scene and were charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.

The former officer alleges that the prosecution against him was politically motivated and provoked threats against his family, which is why he filed a multimillion-dollar claim for damages, which are generally precursors to lawsuits.

Despite the officers' acquittal, Ellis' case remains controversial.

During his testimony at trial last year, Rankine said he put pressure on Ellis' back on March 3, 2020, even though the man stated during the arrest that he couldn't breathe. Rankine, however, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter after a Pierce County jury acquitted all of the officers involved.

Lawyers for the three former officers argued during their defense that Ellis died from a lethal amount of methamphetamine and a pre-arrest heart condition, not from the officers' actions, an argument that swayed the jury.

Meanwhile, the Pierce County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused by lack of oxygen during physical restraint allegedly caused by the officers.

The arrest procedure still raises questions and remains under review by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations.

The arrest that led to Ellis' death occurred while he was walking home about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Seattle when he passed a patrol car stopped at a red light, where officers Collins and Burbank were.

“The officers claimed they saw Ellis try to open the door of a passing car and he became aggressive when they tried to question him about it. Collins testified that Ellis demonstrated 'superhuman strength' by lifting Collins off the ground and throwing him through the air," Fox 13 reported.

However, three witnesses stated that they did not witness this scene that led to the arrest and instead testified that the officers went after Ellis after a brief talk.

“The witnesses — one of whom yelled for the officers to stop attacking Ellis — and a doorbell surveillance camera captured video of parts of the encounter. The video showed Ellis with his hands up in a surrender position as Burbank shot a Taser at his chest and Collins wrapped an arm around his neck from behind,” Fox 13 noted.