Feds decline to charge Pasco police in Zambrano-Montes shooting

Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was shot and killed by police in Pasco, WA on Feb. 10th, in an undated family photo.
Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was shot and killed by police in Pasco, WA on Feb. 10th, in an undated family photo.

U.S. prosecutors announced this week that Pasco police officers will not face federal charges in the fatal 2015 shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, sparking outcry from local organizations.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington made the announcement on Tuesday, which said, in part:

“The evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Officers [Adrian] Alaniz, [Ryan] Flanagan, and [Adam] Wright acted with the requisite criminal intent, that is, willfully with a bad purpose to violate the law.”

The Latino Coalition of Tri-Cities, criticized U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby’s decision in a statement:

“Mr. Ormsby had a choice. He could have filed a charge of ‘reckless endangerment’ against the three police shooters, but he chose instead to duck this option and to align himself with the local county prosecutor. In so doing, he drove the final nail into the coffin of justice in Pasco.”

The coalition also called for creating a community Board of Review for the Pasco Police Department, the establishment of a city Ombudsman and the creation of a city position of Director for Multicultural Affairs.

Seattle-based OneAmerica also issued a statement from executive director Rich Stolz that said in part:

“Our system of justice must hold everyone, including and especially police officers charged with protecting and serving the community, accountable for their actions. The credibility of our justice system, as evidenced in too many similar instances in other communities across our nation involving black men, women and children and other people of color, depends on nothing less.”

The Tri-City Herald reported that Zambrano-Montes’ family was disappointed, and that the Zambrano family would continue with their lawsuit against the city.

Police said that Zambrano-Montes, 35, threw rocks into a busy street in downtown Pasco, and then refused arrest and was chased in front of onlookers and downtown traffic until he was shot by police more than 16 times.

Zambrano-Montes’ death was the fourth fatal shooting in 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, and drew calls for scrutiny of the case from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office and from legislators.

Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)
Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)

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