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.
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.
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.