Could police shooting of Mexican immigrant make Pasco, Wash., the next ‘Ferguson’? (Video)

Could police shooting of Mexican immigrant make Pasco, Wash., the  next ‘Ferguson’? (Video)
Memorial for the slain homeless man (Source: Alan Berner/Seattle Times)

Cue the hashtag #MexicanLivesMatter.

A controversial video of Pasco, Wash., police shooting a man who appears to be raising his hands in surrender turns and faces them has surfaced and has one city official raising concerns that the town could become “another Ferguson.”

The victim, who died of his gunshot wounds, was 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes, a homeless Mexican immigrant. He was confronted by police last Tuesday for throwing rocks at passing cars on a busy downtown street.

The video, shot by one of “dozens of bystanders,” picks up on the action well after the initial confrontation between police and the rock thrower. It shows officers leveling their service weapons at the man, who inexplicably bolts. The police give chase, catching up with the man, who turns and faces them with his hands raised, at which point they open fire.

According to the Seattle Times:

[Police say] Zambrano-Montes … had been acting bizarrely and was throwing rocks at cars and the officers…. Two of the officers were hit with rocks and were treated at the scene by medics, said Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger. The Police Department declined to describe the extent of the officers’ injuries.

Coroner Dan Blasdel has announced plans to conduct a coroner’s inquest, in which a jury is presented with all available evidence and decides whether the officers were justified in their use of deadly force. Said Blasdel to reporters, “We don’t want another Ferguson here in Pasco.”

“Zambrano-Montes,” the Times further notes, “worked as a farm laborer and had been in the Pasco area for about a decade.”

On Thursday Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department  condemned the shooting, calling it one of the “events in which unwarranted use has been made of lethal force.” The same day, Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement noting that staff has been reached out to Pasco officials about the need for a full inquiry into the shooting.

In a now-familiar gesture, on Wednesday night more than 100 people gathered outside City Hall, carrying signs reading “Don’t Shoot” and “Use Your Training, Not Your Gun!” A small memorial has been erected on the section of sidewalk where Zambrano-Montes died.

[Author’s note: For an explanation for the strikethroughs in the above text, kindly check out the dialogue between Ted Slater and me in the comments section.] 

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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