Zambrano-Montes case called to question in light of recent confl - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Zambrano-Montes case called to question in light of recent conflicts between police and minorities

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UPDATE: Prosecuting Attorney Shawn P. Sant has responded to U.S. Commission chairman Martin R. Castro's letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding the decision not to charge the three Pasco officers involved in the Zambrano-Montes case.

Sant pointed out multiple factual inaccuracies found in Castro's letter to Lynch: for example, pointing out that Castro's letter stated that "at the time Mr. Zambrano Montes was shot that he had ' weapon or rock in his possession.', a statement that was not based on the evidence in the case. Castro's letter also stated that "Mr. Zambrano-Montes paused from the pursuit by police and turned around to begin to surrender", another false statement, this one unsupported by the "numerous witnesses at the scene".

"One of the many considerations in determining whether the officers acted with a good faith belief that the use of force was justified was that officers tried to subdue Mr. Zambrano-Montes several times by less lethal means before resorting to deadly force with their firearms," Sant states in his letter.

"One of the videos captures Mr. Zambrano-Montes chasing Officer Flanagan with a rock held as if to throw it at the officer. The officer did not immediately discharge his firearm but deployed his taser with no effect on Mr. Zambrano-Montes. When officers fire the first five shots at Mr. Zambrano-Montes, at least one of the bullets struck him in the arm, causing a blood trail located in the crosswalk area. Neither this injury nor the taser strikes deterred Mr. Zambrano from continuing to raise a rock in his hand with the same arm that sustained a bleeding gunshot wound."

Sant finishes his letter to Castro by saying, among other statements: "I agree with you that uses of force by law enforcement officials must be strictly scrutinized, especially when that use of force results in death."


PASCO, WA - The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review the decision not to charge three Pasco police officers who shot a rock-throwing man to death last year.
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-Montes, a farm worker and citizen of Mexico, was killed in February 2015 after he threw rocks at police officers at a busy intersection.
The Tri-City Herald reports the three officers fired 17 shots at Zambrano-Montes, hitting him at least six times.
Local and federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against the officers.
Cellphone video of the shooting went viral and sparked protests.