Medical findings were discussed in the trial of two former police officers charged in the death of Manuel Ellis. Dr. Jonathan Mitchell testified that Ellis died due to insufficient oxygen caused by restraint and a prone position. Defense attorneys argue Ellis died of a methamphetamine overdose.
In the ongoing trial of two former police officers charged with the death of Manuel Ellis, a forensic pathologist testified about the medical findings that led him to conclude that Ellis died due to oxygen deprivation. Dr. Thomas Mitchell, the pathologist, stated that the presence of acidosis, a condition caused by insufficient oxygen, was a key factor in his conclusion.
Mitchell explained that when individuals experience low oxygen levels, their natural instinct is to breathe heavily in order to compensate. However, Ellis, who was pinned to the ground by the police while lying on his stomach, was unable to find a position that allowed him to breathe properly. This supports the claim made by prosecutors that Ellis’s last words were “I can’t breathe.”
The defense attorneys, on the other hand, have argued that Ellis died from a methamphetamine overdose. However, Mitchell’s testimony contradicts this claim, as he firmly stated that the cause of death was oxygen deprivation due to restraint.
During the cross-examination, Mitchell was questioned about his social media presence and his self-description as an advocate. Mitchell, who is Black, explained that he advocates for public health solutions that address the disproportionate impact on Black Americans.
When asked if his conclusion was based on circumstantial evidence, Mitchell confidently replied that it was not. He cited several factors that supported his conclusion, including the prone position in which Ellis was placed, his hands being handcuffed and hogtied to his feet, the presence of food and blood in his airways, and the documentation of Ellis’s deteriorating heart rate and breathing at the scene.
This testimony by Dr. Mitchell adds weight to the prosecution’s case against the former police officers, Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins, who are charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. The trial continues as the court seeks to determine the truth behind Manuel Ellis’s tragic death and hold those responsible accountable..