As tens of thousands of people marched mostly peacefully through American cities again to mourn George Floyd and demand police accountability, fresh outrage arose over new videos capturing abuse.
In Buffalo, two police officers were suspended Thursday after shoving and seriously injuring a 75-year-old man at a demonstration against police brutality — an incident New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) called “utterly disgraceful.”
And in Washington state, new footage emerged showing Tacoma officers repeatedly beating a handcuffed black man, Manuel Ellis, who died in police custody in March. Early Friday, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called for the officers to be fired.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called Friday for four officers involved in the death of a 33-year-old black man to be fired, hours after the county medical examiner ruled the death of Manuel Ellis in March a homicide.
New video footage of the violent March 3 arrest emerged late Thursday, showing police officers beating Ellis on the side of the road, repeatedly striking him while he was restrained in handcuffs on the ground. The footage, provided by the Tacoma Action Collective, shows officers telling him to “just put your hands behind your back” while they were already on top of him.
In a video statement, Woodards said the video only confirmed what the Pierce County medical examiner had made apparent: that Ellis died because of the actions of the four city police officers. The exact cause was respiratory arrest due to hypoxia — a lack of oxygen reaching body tissues — which was due to physical restraint.
Woodards demanded that the city manager fire the officers.
“Tonight, [the family] asked, why does it always take a video for the public to believe when a black person’s life is taken unjustly? As an African American woman, I didn’t need a video to believe,” Woodards said. “As I watched that video I became even more enraged and angered and disappointed.”
Tacoma demonstrators have drawn parallels between Ellis’s death and George Floyd’s.
In addition to demanding the officers’ firing, the mayor said she also instructed the city manager to allocate funds for body cameras immediately.
She asked that the district attorney prosecute the officers “to the fullest extent of the law.”