On Feb. 10, 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed in Pasco, WA. Local police were called to the scene after Zambrano-Montes was reported to have been throwing rocks at cars in front of Fiesta Foods.
The unwarranted response to Zambrano-Montes by local police was caught on camera and has gone viral on the Internet. Zambrano-Montes is shown running from the police but then swinging his hands up in compliance only seconds before police fired as many as 13 rounds. According to eye-witnesses, Zambrano-Montes was not holding a rock so there was no reason for officers to respond in a hostile manner. Three trained officers could have easily taken down a single man that did not pose any imminent threat to the public.
Regarding threats to the public, firing multiple rounds at someone in a busy intersection is unsafe. Three children witnessed the shooting putting all of them physically in harm’s way.
The violent reaction by the officers posed a threat to bystanders and local businesses. Although tasing allegedly had no effect, the three officers could have easily approached him and taken him down or called in backup. Either way, Zambrano-Montes could have been safely neutralized without the use of deadly force.
The issue of police brutality in the States has always existed but is now being acknowledged. Recent cases have prompted this discussion and concern but countless cases all over the country continue to occur without media exposure. The media has a way of immortalizing the stories they choose and this unjust action against a middle-class Latino man was unvalued.
In the case of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, media outlets only began to buzz when black communities across the United States began to protest in outrage.
The value the media puts on a colored person’s life is dramatically less.
There are no heated debates unless the ‘colored person’ is on the other end of the trigger. It is best to follow the family and authority’s advice to stay peaceful in the wake of this shooting. Reacting with violence to a crime only creates more crime and has no valid purpose or positive outcomes.
A Franklin County coroner confirms that there will be an official coroners’ inquest into the death of Zambrano-Montes. Across the country thousands of people are protesting their disapproval for the shooting. An official investigation and peaceful protests are the right way to proceed, but in order to be proactive everyone has to fix the problem at its source.
Zambrano-Montes was monolingual and none of the officers spoke Spanish. With a population of over 50 percent Hispanic and Latino inhabitants, the authorities should have basic training in the Spanish language and know how to interact with non-English speakers.
During the chase, Zambrano-Montes did not understand the commands and could have been conceding in Spanish when the officers shot him.
Zambrano-Montes’ widow and daughters have filed a claim against the city for misconduct. According to CNN, “The claim said the incident was the third fatal shooting by a Pasco officer ‘in a very short period of time,’ and accused the city of ‘retaining officers who had a proven history of violation of civil rights against the Latino/Hispanic community’ and ‘allowing and fostering overt racial [animus] towards the Hispanic/Latino community within the Pasco Police Department’”.
There have been multiple fatal police shootings over the past seven months and action should have been taken to reorient the city. The claim alleges one of the officers involved in this shooting has a “prior history of misconduct in civil rights matters.” The city of Pasco has to train their officers and work for a peaceful environment.