Consejo Latino Leader Calls for Independent Prosecutor in #PascoShooting

Mar 4, 2015
10:30 AM

This the text of a March 3 letter delivered from Consejo Latino in Pasco to Shawn Sant, the prosecutor for Franklin County, Washington, regarding the shooting death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.


Consejo Latino
900 North Road 64
Pasco, WA 99301

3 March 2015

Mr. Shawn Sant
Franklin County
Pasco, Washington 99301

Re: Police Shooting – Pasco, WA

Dear Mr. Sant:

On behalf of Consejo Latino and at the request of the family of Antonio ZAMBRANO Montes, we demand that you request the Attorney General to appoint an independent special prosecutor to handle all aspects of the case involving the shooting of Mr. Zambrano, an unarmed civilian who was attempting to flee at the time he was gunned down by three Pasco police on February 10, 2015.

Consejo Latino (Latino Council) is a community organization which champions economic development for Hispanic-owned businesses, promotes cross-cultural communication and understanding and advocates politically on issues of concern to the multi-cultural Pasco, WA community. It is made up primarily of prominent members of the Hispanic community, a community which accounts for approximately 60 percent of the city and county population. The Consejo, along with other organizations, is providing general support to the Zambrano family.

I submit the following facts and observations:

  • Your Association with the Local investigation. You have not kept public distance from the investigation of this incident. During the three Special Investigative Unit (SIU) press conferences held to date, you have participated alongside the SIU spokesman, providing updates on the investigation and responding to questions from media representatives. In so doing, you have conveyed the impression that you have taken the side of the police officers involved. This connection appears to be in direct conflict with what the community understood your role to be. We understood your role to be one of neutral observer, keeping distance from the SIU investigation. Once concluded, the findings of the SIU would be forwarded to you to make a determination on whether charges should be filed against the three officers involved in the killing of Antonio Zambrano.
  • Credibility. Your ability to make any charging decision is compromised by your apparent working relationship with the SIU investigation. Further, your own past employment as a police officer, coupled with your traditional prosecutorial role as police defender in court, adversely impacts on your ability to make an objective and impartial decision on whether charges should be filed. It is obvious to Consejo Latino that the perception in our community is that you have a conflict of interest.

Accordingly, we demand that you request the Attorney General to appoint a truly independent, out-of-area, special prosecutor to manage all aspects of the Antonio Zambrano case. For the sake of the community, we believe it is critical that another prosecutor, who can be seen as credible and neutral, assume control in this case immediately.

Please advise us of your decision on this matter.

Colonel Felix Vargas (Ret.)

cc: Jay Inslee, Governor, State of Washington
Robert Ferguson, Attorney General, State of Washington
Gloria Ochoa, Chair, Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney, Eastern Washington