'Manner of death is homicide': Medical expert takes stand in Manny Ellis trial

An out-of-state medical expert gave their testimony on what they believe caused Manny Ellis’ death on Thursday.

The second week of hearings wrapped in the trial against three Tacoma Police officers charged in the death of Manny Ellis, which happened in March 2020.

Officers Matthew Collins and Christopher Burbank are charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Officer Timothy Rankine is charged with manslaughter.

A medical expert provided their ruling on exactly how Ellis died.

"I call his cause of death mechanical asphyxia due to violent subdual and restraint by law enforcement officers," said Dr. Roger Mitchell. "The contributing cause is evidence of aspiration in blood and oral contents due to spit-hood placement, methamphetamine toxicity, and dilation of the heart, and manner of death is homicide."

Mitchell is a pathology expert and the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C.


Manny Ellis' mother's car tracked, tires slashed, according to family attorney

As the trial continues for three Tacoma Police officers charged with the death of Manny Ellis, FOX 13 News has learned someone may be targeting Ellis’ mother.

He did not perform the autopsy on Ellis but told prosecutors that he had access to all the reports and evidence.

Mitchell agrees with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s findings, but says he goes further than their results.

Jacob Atzet with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office also answered questions on the stand Thursday.

Atzet was at the scene of the incident three years ago.

The defense alleges Ellis punched the Tacoma Patrol car before the officers got out of the vehicle. 

The defense says a smeared handprint on the glass of the patrol car is evidence of this interaction due to the doughnuts Ellis had purchased earlier in the night.

The defense asked several times if Atzet could remember anything on the window.

"From what I remember, now I don’t recall anything on the window," he said.

The trial continues next week. Several eyewitnesses are expected to take the stand.