Police Reviews Clear Officers in Shooting Death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes

Sep 24, 2015
9:42 AM
Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed by police officers in Washington. He was carrying a rock.

Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed by police officers in Washington. He was carrying a rock.

The three police officers who shot and killed a Mexican man in Washington last February did not violate department policy, according to the results of two reviews released on Wednesday.

Officers Adam Wright, Adrian Alaniz and Ryan Flanagan were justified in firing 17 shots at Antonio Zambrano-Montes as he ran across a busy intersection and along a line of businesses. Reports say the 35-year-old orchard worker was high on meth, throwing rocks at police officers and asking the officers to shoot him.

The shooting death was recorded by several onlookers, including one motorist.

The findings — one the result of an internal investigation conducted by the Pasco Police Department, and the other by the Police Policy Studies Council, a consulting agency based in New Hampshire — allow Wright and Alaniz to return to active duty. Flanagan resigned in July.

“The officers used lethal force in response to both immediate and imminent threats of serious harm to themselves and members of the public,” wrote Thomas J. Aveni, the executive director of the consulting agency, who also found nothing excessive in the amount of shots fired by Pasco police when compared to their counterparts in Los Angeles County.

As the Tri-City Herald reports:

The internal investigation found the use of force was appropriate because of the potential for serious harm or death from the large rocks Zambrano-Montes threw, according to a copy of the report.

The shooting was also warranted, the report said, due to Zambrano-Montes’ erratic and volatile behavior, statements he made about wanting police to kill him and his refusal to obey commands.

‘All three (officers) felt that they had to stop Zambrano-Montes’ assaultive behavior before he seriously injured or killed someone,’ wrote Sgt. Scott Warren.

‘They ruled out trying to engage Zambrano-Montes physically because of the risk that he could strike them in the head with the large rocks he was wielding and refusing to drop,’ he added.

Earlier this month, Franklin County prosecutor Shawn Sant decided he would not try the three officers based on the findings of a third investigation conducted by Tri-City Special Investigative Unit.

“Whatever trust that might have existed has vanished in the eyes of the Hispanic community,” Rick Rios, a local business owner and organizer, told Latino Rebels.

Consejo Latino — the group which first brought the Pasco shooting to Latino Rebels‘ attention, and of which Rios is a former member — wrote a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee urging the state to conduct its own investigation. The governor then requested that the state’s attorney general begin an investigation, which remains ongoing.