The Washington State ACLU and the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, are claiming that three Pasco police officers used excessive force when they shot and killed Zambrano-Montes during a confrontation recorded by a bystander (above).

Police had been called because Zambrano-Montes was throwing rocks at cars in a store parking lot.

When officers arrived and attempted to take Zambrano-Montes into custody, he resisted by arming himself with rocks or chunks of concrete, and throwing those object at officers when they got close.

Officers apparently attempted to use a taser on Zambrano-Montes, but it failed as tasers so frequently do. Media accounts state that Zambrano-Montes simply picked the barb out of his skin (the other barb apparently missed), and continued resisting.

One rock that he threw at officers at approximately the 00:03 second mark was allegedly the size of a softball, and at the range of several feet, clearly constituted a lethal force weapon.

One or more of the officers opened fire on Zambrano-Montes after he threw the softball-sized rock, firing five shots.  Zambrano-Montes was off-camera as the person filming the conflict stayed focused on the firing officer(s).  It is impossible to tell if  Zambrano-Montes was hit by any of the five shots in the initial volley.

The camera then shifted to follow Zambrano-Montes  as he walked, then ran down the sidewalk beside a building with his arms outstretched, officers in pursuit.

The distance is too great and the resolution of the video camera is too weak to conclusively tell if Zambrano-Montes is still armed with rocks in his outstretched hands as officers close on him, but it is perfectly clear at the 00:18 second mark that he does turn to confront them and it looks like something may be in his hands by the way he acting.

Antonio Zambrano-Montes quickly turns to confront three Pasco police officers. Something appears to be in his hands, but the quality of the video makes it impossible to tell.

At the 00:19 second mark Zambrano-Montes tenses up—possibly about to throw another rock at officers—and they open fire a second time within a split second of him doing so.

This time, the results of the bullets impacting Zambrano-Montes are obvious as he turns and collapses face-first to the ground. At least seven shots distinct shots are fired. He presumably dies at the scene.

* * *

Zambrano-Montes was arrested just last year for assaulting a police officer and attempting to take his gun while allegedly high on meth.

His family members attempting to turn him into the next Michael Brown describe Zambrano-Montes as “a kind person, family-oriented,” and “hardworking.”

His ex-wife tells a very different tale:

In 2006, Teresa D. Meraz Ruiz filed for a protection order for herself and the couple’s two young daughters due to Zambrano-Montes’ “volatile behavior,” according to court documents.

She said he threatened to kill her many times, physically abused her, and pulled a knife and gun on her during their nine-year relationship. The daughters live in California with their mom.

Zambrano-Montes clearly had a violent history.
He refused to comply with Pasco police officers, and the video clearly shows that he threw a large rock at a police officer 00:03 into the film, which is assault with a deadly weapon.
Zambrano-Montes also appears to have tensed up at the 00:18 mark after turning to confront the officers pursing him, and I think that it is reasonable for the officers to conclude that he was once again going to attempt to throw a rock at one of them, which at that range, meets the definition of a lethal force threat.
I’m not saying that this situation wasn’t tragic. It clearly was. No one wants to see people die, especially the police officers themselves.
But the fact of the matter is that like the suspects in most other officer-involved shootings that were made “controversial” by a ratings-hungry media, it was the suspect’s behavior that drove the sequence of events and determined the final outcome.
Michael Brown attempted to resist arrest, then attempted to murder Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with his own gun before finally being shot and killed as he charged the injured officer again.

Tykwon Davis was shot and killed in Chicago after police witnessed him attempt to kill another teen and gave chase; if he had surrendered instead of pointing his gun at pursuing officers, he’d be alive (though in prison) today.

Darrien Hunt would still be alive in Saratoga Springs if he simply put down his samurai sword. Instead, took a swing at the nearest officer and took off running towards a store full of customers/potential victims. Officers had to fire on him to save lives.
Ledarius Williams pulled a gun on police for a second and final time in St. Louis earlier this month instead of going back to prison. That was his poor decision.
In all of these instances and the death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes discussed here, violent men refused to comply with lawful commands designed to save both the lives of the officers and the suspects.
It is a shame that these men made the poor decision to violently resist law enforcement officers with imminent deadly force, and in each instance, it was their decisions that forced officers to respond with deadly force to deadly force threats.
Zambrano-Montes lead a violent life and caused his own violent death.
While that is certainly tragic, it isn’t a crime, and it wasn’t unfair.
Tags: Video