TACOMA, WA - For the first time, the family of Manny Ellis took the stand in the trial against the three officers charged with his killing.
Tacoma Police Officer Matthew Collins and Officer Christopher Burbank, as well as Officer Timothy Rankine are on trial for the 2020 death of Manny Ellis.
Collins and Burbank are both charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and Rankine is charged with manslaughter.
Attorneys spent the last few days examining video footage of the incident, but on Thursday, Monet Carter-Mixon, Manny Ellis’ younger sister, took the stand to share her story.
"We were very close. He was my best friend. He was my person. When I needed him, he was always there for me," she said.
Carter-Mixon explained to the courtroom that Ellis lived with her and helped her with chores around the house, including taking care of her children.
However, she says that she asked her brother to move out when she discovered he had relapsed with drug use.
"He had asked me, like, if I could give him another chance, and I said, ‘No. You need to go. This will be good for you. Just wait and see," said Carter-Mixon.
Despite not living together, she says she kept up with her older brother regularly by talking on the phone and texting. She said on the day Manny died, she missed a video call from him.
Carter-Mixon would not find out about the death of Ellis until hours later, she said.
"I got a phone call from someone, from the medical examiner’s office, telling me that they had my body, my brother’s body there with him," Carter-Mixon said.
Carter-Mixon said she tried to find more information on what happened to her brother for months. She said in June, she got a message from one of the eyewitnesses who recorded the incident.
During the cross-examination, the defense focused their questions on Ellis’ past drug activity. Carter-Mixon said she was worried he was going to get hurt by drug dealers or other users, but she never saw signs of ill health due to his drug use.
She said she was not aware of any heart problems either.
Thursday evening, Carter-Mixon was excused from the stand.
The trial will resume next week. Ellis’ mother is the next witness expected.