Two Tacoma cops acquitted for Manny Ellis's death ask the state to pay their defense: Lawyers for the third officer, Timothy Rankine, are reviewing the motion. A Pierce County judge could decide whether Washington owes hundreds of thousands, or millions more, to the former officers. Last month, the Tacoma Police Department paid the officers $500,000 each to leave the department. A hearing is set for March 8, a little more than four years to the day since officers restrained Ellis as he told them he couldn’t breathe. A Pierce County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by asphyxiation. 

Fact checked: The Washington House killed a bill that would have expanded a judge’s ability to dismiss cases for low-level crimes, potentially reducing the number of people languishing in jail for theft and trespass, if defendants complied with certain conditions. But if you read the Seattle Times Editorial Board, or watched KING 5, you would have been under the mistaken impression that it was a debate between jail and a court-ordered program, or that it would make people move out of Seattle. Maybe they should have read the bill, instead of parroting City Attorney Ann Davidson? Read Ashley’s analysis here.

00 number 2: A Lynnwood man is facing voyeurism charges for allegedly installing spy cameras under toilets at Expedia’s Seattle offices. Investigators said the cameras captured at least 10 people using the restroom. When police arrested ex-Expedia employee Marcelo Vargas-Fernandez outside his apartment earlier this month, they found 15 spy cameras, 22 SD drives, and six hard drives with 20+ terabytes of storage. An employee first noticed the cameras in December, but they weren’t immediately taken away because security thought they were a backup battery to the soap dispenser (batteries don't have lenses?). Vargas-Fernandez got caught because he reinstalled the cameras.

25th Bartell Drugs is closing in Wallingford: When owner Rite Aid declared bankruptcy in October, a judge told the company it had until March to complete a turnaround. Last month, the company hired two liquidators to help cull stores while its financiers considered whether to salvage or sell off struggling locations. Reportedly, they’re talking to two buyers. It’s unclear what happens next, but past closures sure have been a lot quieter than the one in Wallingford. The extensive signage and sign-wavers have “all the subtlety of a mattress sale,” reported the Seattle Times. Even furniture is up for grabs.

The Black Death visits Oregon: Health officials say a sick pet cat likely infected the patient with bubonic plague. The cat sadly died, but the human is undergoing treatment. The community is not believed to be at risk. The world’s most has-been disease, a bacterial infection that worms its way into our lymph nodes, never really went away. According to the World Health Organization, the pestilence infects between 1,000 and 2,000 people a year. In the US, about seven people get plague each year. Back in the 1300s, bubonic plague killed half the population of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, and significant outbreaks continued for hundreds of years.

Local trans choir pledges to pay its BIPOC board members: The Seattle Trans and Nonbinary Choral Ensemble is seeking donations to fund a $200 a month stipend for each of its BIPOC board members. “STANCE is committed to continuing to deepen our racial equity work in 2024,” it wrote on Instagram. “In order to do that, we rely heavily on the input of our BIPOC board members who provide an invaluable perspective.”

Democrats take back George Santos's seat in special election: Former congressman Tom Suozzi's victory in the competitive district cuts the already slight Republican majority in Washington by a seat. Before Suozzi's win, Republicans controlled all of Long Island. He could be sworn in as soon as tomorrow

Ireland and Spain ask for an EU investigation of Israel: The countries want to know if Israel is complying with human rights obligations in Gaza under the EU/Israel Association Agreement, according to a letter from their prime ministers. They wrote that they were deeply concerned with the worsening situation in Israel and Gaza and its effect on innocent civilians, especially women and children. They called for an immediate ceasefire. An EU spokeswoman said they’d “look into it.” More than 28,000 Palestinians have died since October 7.

More anti-trans violence in the UK: Authorities have charged a cis woman in London with attempted murder after she allegedly stabbed a young trans woman 14 times. The 18-year-old trans victim was at a roller-skating party with her friends when a group of people yelling slurs attacked. The alleged perpetrator, 19-year-old Summer Betts-Ramsey, denied any involvement in the stabbing. The attack comes weeks after a judge sentenced two teenagers to life in prison for the brutal murder of 14-year-old trans girl Brianna Ghey. Like in the United States, transphobia is growing in the United Kingdom. Hate crimes against transgender people in England and Wales hit a record high between March 2022 and March 2023.

Wisconsin Republicans un-gerrymandered themselves: After years of GOP domination, state Republicans approved maps supported by their Democrat governor that weaken their hold on the Legislature, but they did not do so out of the goodness of their hearts, or love for democracy or whatever. Rather, they were scared of a worse deal. (One state senator said they had a gun to their head.) During her wildly expensive campaign, newly elected state Supreme Court judge Janet Protasiewicz called the maps rigged and said she’d welcome a chance to review them. State Dems aren’t happy with the maps, either. Nearly all of them voted against the maps in hopes for better ones.

Self-crashing cars: Reporting from the Washington Post revealed that a Tesla recruiter’s 2022 death was likely the first-ever full self-driving fatality. The software, which the company oversold and later recalled, was struggling to comprehend the winding mountain curves of Colorado when it suddenly swerved off the road and burst into flames. The surviving passenger told Post reporters that hours before the crash, the driver had to repeatedly yank the car back on course.

Chicago is ditching ShotSpotter: Mayor Brandon Johnson said he won’t renew the City’s contract with the gunshot detection system of dubious value this summer, making good on a campaign promise. Maybe Seattle should take the hint and do the same. But the Sun-Times notes that after it reported on his decision, Johnson released a statement saying he’ll decommission the software in September after the historically violent summer months and the Democratic National Convention. 

If you fail, then try, try again: House Republicans voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas twice yesterday. They failed the first time and succeeded the second time by a single vote. They accuse the man of willfully refusing to enforce border laws and breaching the public trust, but Republicans in the Senate might not do anything more because they believe his actions don’t clear the bar of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Mayorkas is the first sitting cabinet secretary ever to be impeached.