TACOMA, Wash. - The defense attorneys of three Tacoma Police officers charged with killing Manny Ellis are focusing on his criminal history of meth-fueled violence, which predated the fatal March 2020 encounter.
On Tuesday, two members of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department talked about a violent interaction they experienced with Ellis during a call for service.
Deputy Kevin Pressel and Detective Sergeant Alexa Moss answered questions about a domestic violence call they responded to which involved Ellis and an ex-girlfriend.
The two deputies explained that during the arrest, Ellis complained about the handcuffs hurting due to a shoulder injury. However, when Pressel loosened the cuffs, the deputies testified that Ellis immediately took advantage of the situation.
"I heard Deputy Pressel yelling at Mr. Ellis to get his hand out of his pocket and then get out of the car," said Moss.
The deputies said Ellis had an uncapped needle, filled with meth. When Ellis refused to comply with their orders, the deputies said they tried to regain control of the situation by pulling Ellis out of the car.
"He immediately started kicking and flailing and resisting," said Pressel. "He was lifting us off the ground," he added.
This is the second day of testimony in a row where the defense focused on previous incidents involving Ellis, meth, and violence.
On Monday, the defense interviewed deputies who responded to an attempted robbery Ellis allegedly committed months before the deadly incident with Tacoma Police.
The defense is seemingly working to create a pattern of similar incidents leading up to that deadly March 2020 encounter.
When the state cross-examined the deputies on Tuesday, they pointed out officers eventually got Ellis under control without any major incident.
The defense is expected to bring officer Masyih Ford as one of their next witnesses.
Ford was under investigation for his own involvement in the March 2020 death of Ellis, but was never charged and was exonerated by Tacoma Police.