TACOMA, Wash. — The Pierce County Medical Examiner has released the autopsy report for Manuel Ellis, a black man who died while being restrained by Tacoma police officers in March.
The medical examiner ruled Ellis' death a homicide, but according to the full autopsy report obtained by KING 5, Ellis also had a fatal amount of methamphetamine in his system.
The report says he died from a lack of oxygen from physical restraint, positioning, and the placement of a spit mask over his face. But the report also added, "It is unlikely that this death would have occurred due to physical restraint alone, without the contributing conditions. An argument could be made that the extremely high methamphetamine concentration should be considered the primary factor."
Gov. Jay Inslee called for a new and independent investigation into Ellis' death after a Pierce County investigation discovered that a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy was at the scene when Ellis was killed in Tacoma police custody.
The county prosecutor, Inslee said, should not review the current investigation into the death of the 33-year-old man, or make charging decisions and there must be an investigation done independently of Pierce County law enforcement.
State officials are working to determine who will conduct the investigation and who will make charging decisions.
Manuel Ellis died on March 3 in handcuffs while being restrained by Tacoma police.
Police say two Tacoma police officers asked Ellis if he needed help and when the officer stepped out of the car to talk, Ellis allegedly assaulted the officer, leading to the restraint.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards has called for the officers involved in the incident to be fired and criminally charged.