OLYMPIA — A bill carrying the weight of lives lost and the hopes of a community yearning for justice passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 49 to 0 vote.
SB 6009, sponsored by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D-Tacoma), prohibits the dangerous and inhumane practice of hog-tying, a practice unfortunately still allowed by some law enforcement jurisdictions.
Four years ago, Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man from Tacoma, died after spending the final moments of his life hog-tied and pleading for breath. Trudeau was motivated by the impact the story of his death has had on the community and aims to ban this practice for good.
“This bill builds on the work of this Legislature to prohibit excessive force. But I brought it as an opportunity for community healing, which can only occur when we agree to tell the truth, allow ourselves to grapple with it, and figure out how we move forward together toward a world where all communities feel and are truly safe,” Trudeau stated. “In crafting this legislation, I took a deliberate step to consult with Monet, Mr. Ellis’s sister. The pain and loss their family has experienced are etched into the fabric of this bill.”
The restraint technique of hog-tying has long been a source of concern, both in Washington state and across the nation. While some jurisdictions have recognized the risk of suffocation and banned the technique, it continues to be in use in others. This bill aligns Washington with other states that have taken decisive steps to prevent such tragedies.
“The bill reflects a commitment to building trust between law enforcement and communities and is another small step toward accountability and justice,” Trudeau added. “We must prevent the dehumanization that Manuel Ellis faced before his death. We must enforce laws while ensuring that every individual is treated with the dignity and respect we expect as human beings.”
Hog-tying disproportionately affects marginalized communities. The Department of Justice has recommended eliminating the practice since 1995, and the Attorney General’s Office’s use-of-force model policy advises against it.
This bill passed the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support and now heads to the House for consideration.