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Council Member Catherine Ushka Regarding Police Chief’s Recent Announcement

Council Member Catherine Ushka Regarding Police Chief’s Recent Announcement


January 17, 2024



Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

A Statement From Council Member Catherine Ushka Regarding Police Chief’s Recent Announcement


“It’s been a very long four years as an elected leader representing a diverse community, not being able to speak on or to even know what was happening in the investigation of Manuel Ellis’ death. I can’t count the sleepless nights, the tears, the wanting to reach out to people with empathy and compassion while we didn’t even know facts. Before being an elected official, I am a human being. This tragedy has rippled through to every corner of our collective consciousness – mine included.  I know that these officers were largely cleared because the policy at the time allowed for that kind of behavior. Just because something is legal does not make it right. We have better policy now- but that doesn’t take away the loss – particularly for Manuel Ellis’ family.                


 I also want to say that I stand in solidarity with all my colleagues of color tonight who have and do experience the horrific impacts of systemic and outright racism daily – and with Black people throughout our community who experience the same. As a white woman I am accountable for how we respond to the atrocities of history 200 years ago, three years ago, and today. Too many things shouldn’t have happened, shouldn’t be happening. These last three years have felt like we were held captive, and it is time to break free from that.  I am committed to elevating my colleagues' voices, hearing, and acting and continuing to speak out – ending or transforming systemic and blatant racism is all of our responsibility, and particularly that of white people – after all, we created it.  


As a representative of District 4, I can tell you that six years ago when a young Black man died on my side of town it may not have even hit the news, so God-willing perhaps at least we have greater collective awareness now. Perhaps now, at least here in Tacoma, we can admit that racism is real and that only we have the power to change it. I have a lot of hope that we will do better, and I am committed to tangible change.  


I am committed to always working to be a better ally and invite those listening to do the same, if this is Day 1 or if you have been at it for a while. Even in the discomfort of not knowing the ‘right’ thing to do, trying is the right thing. Not allowing yourselves (or myself) to be numb to this or get comfortable is the right thing.  


I am grateful for the opportunity to serve beside, and be in service to, the great leaders you saw at the dais last night. And I am grateful to the Mayor for the opportunity to speak.”