Washington lawmakers of color released a statement Friday morning calling for “frank and open” discussions and a “full assessment” following last week’s shooting death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes by Pasco police.
“While we don’t know all the facts about the shooting death of Mr. Zambrano-Montes in Pasco last week, the unedited video footage of the shooting is very troubling, particularly since police have confirmed Mr. Zambrano-Montes was unarmed,” the statement read in part. (The video is posted at the end of this story.)
Zambrano-Montes, 35, was throwing rocks Feb. 10 into a busy street in downtown Pasco. Some of the rocks were reported to have hit Pasco police, who attempted to arrest him. According to a story in the Tri-City Herald, police unsuccessfully tried to use a Taser.
The former orchard worker, who had a history of erratic behavior, refused arrest and was chased in front of onlookers and downtown traffic until he was shot by police more than 16 times.
Zambrano-Montes is the fourth fatal shooting in the last six months in the Pasco area. The officers involved in the previous shootings were cleared of wrongdoing.
The shooting of Zambrano-Montes, who was from Michoacan, drew condemnation from Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department last week. Gov. Jay Inslee, who was asked about the shooting at a recent press availability, said he was “monitoring” the situation and said the incident needs to have a “complete assessment of all the circumstances.”
The shooting is being investigated by a regional investigative unit, which includes investigators from different law enforcement agencies, according to a story by the Associated Press.
The statement released Friday was signed by the Washington State Legislature Members of Color Caucus, which includes senators Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle; Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle; John McCoy, D-Tulalip; and representatives Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline; Mia Gregerson, D-SeaTac; Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon; Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace; Lillian Ortiz-Self, D- Mukilteo; Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle; Brady Walkinshaw, D-Seattle; and Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle.
The caucus’ message in its entirety follows:
While we don’t know all the facts about the shooting death of Mr. Zambrano-Montes in Pasco last week, the unedited video footage of the shooting is very troubling, particularly since police have confirmed Mr. Zambrano-Montes was unarmed.
One of the fundamental roles of government is to protect its residents. It is clear community leaders and public officials must have a frank and open discussion about what needs to be done to keep our neighborhoods safe. We welcome Gov. Inslee’s suggestion regarding the need for a full assessment of the shooting.
Mr. Zambrano-Montes’ death is a tragedy, as is the loss of any life that may have been prevented under different circumstances. It is our hope this shooting will start a much-needed conversation that ultimately leads to safer, stronger, and healthier communities.