Latino Civic Alliance Criticizes Franklin Co. Judges for not Hel - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Latino Civic Alliance Criticizes Franklin Co. Judges for not Helping Coroner's Inquest into Zambrano Shooting

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PASCO, WA. -- It's been more than 3 months since Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant decided not to charge three Pasco police officers with any crimes for the shooting of Antonio Zambrano.

Yet, controversy still surrounds the shooting, specifically whether the Franklin County Coroner should hold a rare inquest into the case. Over the weekend, a big organization pledged their support for an inquest.

The Latino Civic Alliance is headquartered in Seattle but they consider the inquest very important and impactful to the rest of the state and possibly the country.

On Friday, the Latino Civic Alliance wrote a letter to the superior judges in Franklin County. In the letter, the alliance called into question the judges decision to not allow Coroner Blasdel any courtrooms for the inquest he has called looking into the case. 

Monday afternoon, we talked to the organization's chairperson Nina Martinez. Martinez says the judges' initial letter to Coroner Blasdel denying him access to a courtroom bothered them a lot. 

"(Them) Saying that the other cases were more important or legitimate. That was really bothersome," Martinez said. "Their language in their response to him was very disrespectful."

Again, an inquest wouldn't changes the Prosecutor's decision not to charge, simply make a recommendation to him from a 6 person jury after looking over all the evidence. We met up with Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel to get his opinion on the supportive letter. 

"Well I thought they were spot on," Coroner Blasdel said. "I agree with everything that they say. I knew the letter was coming out. They had called and asked if they could right a letter in my support. And I agree with them."

Blasdel says the inquest is still scheduled to start more than a year after the shooting, on February 23rd, and will be held at the TRAC Center. 

Coroner Blasdel has emailed Prosecutor Sant asking him to participate in the inquest and hasn't hear back. He says he'll wait until Friday before looking for another attorney to assist him.

Sant has previously stated that he is opposed to an inquest.