Today our community learned the verdict in the trial of three Tacoma Police officers accused in the death of Manny Ellis.  It has been more than three years since that fateful night when Mr. Ellis died in police custody.  Today’s verdict will elicit a wide variety of emotions from our community and co-workers.  I trust we will be there for each other as all of us process the trial’s result.

While our system of justice may be imperfect, it is foundational to our democracy and who we are as Americans.  The presumption of innocence and a trial by a jury of your peers are critical safeguards in our society.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the jurors.  These “ordinary citizens” accepted the responsibility of hearing the evidence, applying the law, and rendering a judgement in one of Pierce County’s most significant trials.  They deserve our gratitude for their service.

I am also thankful to our County team that led the effort to make this the most transparent and accessible trial in our history, while helping bring our community together.  Over many months, Chris Gaddis, of Superior Court, and Amy Gillespie, of Emergency Management, led the planning effort involving more than 50 organizations throughout the county.  The City of Tacoma was a key partner throughout.  I appreciate the leaders from many departments whose collaboration made it possible, including the Sheriff’s Department, Communications, Facilities, Planning and Public Works and District Court.

This has been a challenging time for many, and I want to remind you that resources like the Employee Assistance Program are available to support you. Let’s take care of each other as we take care of our residents.