Attorney General Lynch asked to review Pasco death

  • By Wire Service
  • Monday, July 11, 2016 4:18pm
  • Local News

Associated Press

PASCO — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review the decision not to criminally charge three Pasco police officers who fatally shot a man last year after he was throwing rocks.

In a July 8 letter, commission chairman Martin Castro asked Lynch to revisit the case of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in light of recent conflicts between police and minorities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota; and Dallas.

Zambrano-Montez, a farm worker and citizen of Mexico, was killed in Pasco in February 2015 after he threw rocks at police officers at a busy intersection.

Three officers fired 17 shots at Zambrano-Montes, 35. At least six struck him.

After investigations, local and federal prosecutors declined to press charges against the officers.

Cellphone video of the shooting went viral and led to weeks of peaceful protests in the southwestern Washington city.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant declined to charge the officers in September, saying officers who use deadly force when confronting an armed suspect are “acting in good faith and without malice.”

That decision remains under review by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee.

The U.S. Department of Justice also declined to file charges against officers Adrian Alaniz, Ryan Flanagan and Adam Wright. Last month, Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington, said there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers acted with criminal intent.

But Castro disagreed.

He cited “disturbing” video of the shooting as evidence the officers acted “willfully.”

“The officers appear to have acted willfully in shooting Mr. Zambrano-Montes, rather than subduing him in a non-lethal manner. As such, they appear to have willfully deprived him of his life, the most important constitutional right of all,” Castro wrote to Lynch.

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