Video Shows Pasco, WA Police Officers Shoot, Kill Fleeing Suspect

“Washington state police are investigating a video uploaded to YouTube that captures the death of a man shot repeatedly by police. The video, taken by a bystander, surfaced Wednesday, a day after the Tuesday shooting death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35.” That’s from arstechnica.com. What started the confrontation isn’t clear, but Zambrano-Montes had apparently thrown rocks at the officers from the Pasco, Washington Police Department, striking two of them . . .

“Fleeing from police and not following an officer’s command should not be sufficient for a person to get shot. Lethal force should be used only as an absolute last resort,” said Kathleen Taylor, the ACLU executive director of Washington. “Police need to understand how to de-escalate confrontations and use force only as necessary.”

While not capturing the entire incident, the video doesn’t appear to paint the officers actions in a favorable light. All three have been put on leave and Pasco Chief Bob Metzger has begun an investigation into the shooting. Whether this turns into a full Michael Brown/Eric Garner situation remains to be seen.

comments

  1. avatar Xanthro says:

    There’s nothing that justifies the shooting at the end of the video. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t pose a threat and he is trying to surrender even, and when he actually stops to face them the police open fire.
    Seems a clear cut case of voluntary manslaughter or worse.

    1. avatar American Idiot says:

      This is the kind of thing that makes my heart heavy and burns my soul. I’ve dealt with mentally unstable homeless folks. They can snap one minute and be the nicest person you’ve ever met the next. That’s how someone can go from being an aggressor to being harmless. My mother is bi-polar and I’ve dealt with this very thing firsthand. She’s went from a calm conversation to the very next second swinging a butcher knife at me back to not understanding why I have her restrained. This scares me because what if it’s not me this happens with. It’s been a long time since this has happened, decades in fact. All it takes is a missed pill or a forgetful day and she could be shot. Why do these guys carry tasers and bean bag rounds if they refuse to use them?

      If I chased a man through the street after throwing rocks at me and he stopped, threw his hands up, and was surrendering I bet I wouldn’t get paid leave from any job. I would be taken to jail. I wouldn’t be at home while they “investigated” the shooting, that’s for DAMN SURE! Shooting an unarmed man because he threw rocks minutes ago but is now standing in front of you hands in the air is not “justice”. No, it’s called REVENGE. Another way of putting it is COLD BLOODED MURDER.

      But hey, those morons made it home alive and that’s all that counts. I know someone will say that “But rocks are deadly!”. When thrown yes, but how hard is it to take cover from a thrown rock? Pretty easy, I know as I’ve had rocks thrown at me. I’m not talking about pea gravel either, baseball and softball sized. Weird thing though, I didn’t go execute the person when they stopped. Who’d have guessed huh?

      1. avatar gringito says:

        I would even say that this was an EXECUTION!
        Every normal cititzen would end up as a convicted felon in jail or on the electric chair…

  2. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    Wow, they all unloaded multiple rounds.

    That’s not so good.

    Pretty crowded area to be loosing multiple rounds.

    Stupid move by that ex-guy, whatever he did…

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Why wouldn’t they each unloadvon him? Presumably they each perceived their lives were in imminent danger. What? They’re supposed to stop in the middle of the encounter, as the suspect has stopped and turned to face them, and have a little huddle? Nope. Suspect is turning and presenting himself not as compliant, but as threatening. Boom.

      1. avatar John says:

        Bullshit. Looks like an execution to me.

        1. avatar Parker says:

          Fortunately, you’re aren’t the finder of fact based on one cell-phone video from a distance.

        2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          FLAME DELETED

      2. avatar BlueBronco says:

        Prosecutors look unfavorably to Joe Q. Public in a defensive shoot when mag dumps are done in such a manner and wouldn’t go favorably if videoed the way it is here.

      3. avatar int19h says:

        >> They’re supposed to stop in the middle of the encounter, as the suspect has stopped and turned to face them, and have a little huddle?

        Yes, they’re supposed to stop and evaluate the situation (does the guy look like he’s trying to attack? does he have a weapon?) before unload. They’re professionals, are they not?

        1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Professionals, yes. Computers? Fortunetellers? Omniscient, omnipotent super beings? Ummm……not so much. Their job is to assess the situation to the best of their professional ability with the time and information available to them.

          This jackwagon attacks the police with a deadly weapon, that’s a felony. Then he flees from the police, that’s another felony. Even after being shot at initially, he just casually walks away. That’s just crazy. A rational person would drop to the ground.

          Then he eventually resumes his running, only to turn around suddenly, raising his arms in a shooting stance. In the moments leading up to it and in that instant itself, he clearly demonstrated a posture and purpose wholly consistent with a lethal threat against the officers.

          May his reckless, irrelevant and moronic corpse rot in an unmarked pauper’s grave.

      4. avatar Dan says:

        As a police officer, I can tell you t hat we do not shoot individuals simply for turning around and being non-compliant”. I find it hard to justify this shoot unless the man was holding something in his hand that we could not see on video.

        He was throwing rocks. Even if this person had had a more dangerous weapon, such as a knife or a gun, and used it on Police, the point he stops and turns around empty handed ends the officers’ justification for deadly force.

        This really has little to do with quick thinking.. If his hands were empty and he was simply standing there, there was no urgency or imminent threat of death or great bodily harm. That isn’t a difficult situation to mentally process at all..

        1. avatar Fuque says:

          Save it Dan.. if you really believed your own load of bullshit, you and the rest of the ” Good cops” would organize and cull the cowboys out of your departments, you know who they are, you are all one big happy family… But you don’t and you wont… and it will continue until the public starts Culling them for you.

        2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          I didn’t say “turning around and being non-compliant.” I wrote: “Suspect is turning and presenting himself not as compliant, but as threatening.”

          Clearly you have some reading comprehension deficiencies. “Not as compliant” is not the same thing as saying “non-compliant.” “Not as compliant” simply means anything other than compliant, to any other degree, but specifically not that extreme of compliant. I used that word explicitly to anchor the coming comparison. That comparison was with the word “threatening”, to make the stark contrast between those two extremes.

          YOU unilaterally rewrote my remark as “non-compliant”, which could take on a meaning including just about anything in between those two extremes. That is, I wrote that the guy was one extreme (compliant) and was the other extreme (threatening), but you took it upon yourself to include all the middle ground between extremes, then ascribed your reinterpretation to me in your misquote. Epic fail.

          You don’t get to rewrite my post, then expediently disagree with your own rewritten version, and claim a counterpoint for yourself in the process.

          Now, back to my point: he turned around THREATENINGLY, after every other crime he’d already committed, and got what he deserved and what the police were within their legal authority to deliver. Piss on him, I say. (Did you read that correctly, this time?)

  3. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Well in the last few seconds of the video it shows both the “perp” and the police officer shooting at each other at the same time. My question is this. What guns/ammo where they both using to put out that much “flame” at the end of the barrels? It looked almost like a Hollywood movie.

    1. avatar Xanthro says:

      So, you are claiming that the deceased fired at the officers in that video?
      With what, the magical invisible firearm that stays in an open hand?
      Seriously, he didn’t fire, as he didn’t have a firearm, or anything in his hand at all.
      Maybe you are confusing the scatter of the light as some kind of muzzle flash, but frankly it’s hard to even begin to understand why you think you saw him fire.

    2. avatar mlloyd says:

      I’m only a few hours from Pasco. I didn’t see any flames and I didn’t see anything in the perps hands. it appears to me he had his hands out in surrender. I did see cops appear to execute him though.
      I also saw a weapon light getting turned on during the execution.

      1. avatar JimmyDelta says:

        Your relative proximity to the incident has zero bearing on the facts or your ability to correctly analyze this video.

    3. avatar Fuque says:

      It was in the news that The perp was unarmed.. he didnt have anything, no gun, knife, or rock…It was just another killing.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I’m kind of surprised he didn’t have a gun shortly after he died.

  4. avatar Ern says:

    From the perspective that I saw, it did not seem lethal force was justified. It appears at the end, from a far off view that the person fleeing did make a questionable move. Maybe the officers were not sure what was in his hand.

  5. avatar O2HeN2 says:

    Couple of days of paid vacation, cleared of any wrongdoing, nothing to see here, move along…

    O2

    1. avatar mlloyd says:

      You left out the promotion part.

      1. avatar Fuque says:

        And a book deal if he plays it right.

  6. avatar Art Out West says:

    The video certainly does look bad for the officers. It will be quite a controversy, and hopefully justice will prevail.

    I am familiar with this city. It will certainly not turn into a full “Michael Brown/Eric Garner ” situation, as the community does not have the sort of ethnic strife and tension that Ferguson MO and NYC do. And, I hate to say it but people don’t react to a Hispanic (or White or Asian) person being shot as emotionally as they do a black person.

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      Hispanics haven’t had *as* hard of a history of repression and discrimination as blacks (not saying they’ve had it easy at all. Hell my wife is Mexican and still receives prejudicial treatment today, including from local cops) and they don’t have fear-mongers standing ready to exploit and inflame the situation.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Al Sharptonez?

  7. avatar Kris says:

    You see at the beginning he’s throwing something at them so they took a few shots. Right before they bring him down he wasn’t stopping to surrender, he was waiting for them to get close enough then his hand came out of his pocket with something. Justifiable shoot? Probably not but I can see how the cops may have jumped the gun, no pun intended.

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Maybe they just read John Farnhams article.

    1. avatar Aono says:

      Got it in one. If anyone can point out what daylight exists between what Farnam advocated and what happened in this video, please enlighten us.

    2. avatar Grindstone says:

      Incredibly spot on. Pretty much what JWT was talking about in his rebuttal.

      1. avatar Roy says:

        And if the hoards come out with torches and pitchforks to lynch every pig in Pasco, I won’t shed a tear over it. They feed their families with money stolen from people who work an honest living while finding ways to extort more through speeding tickets, seat belt tickets and helmet tickets. A badge is no better than an ISIS flag.

        1. avatar Skyler says:

          That is just a bit hyperbolic, don’t you think? Do you really have so little clue as to how bad ISIS is?

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          It’s pretty typical for extreme Libertarianism, namely the anarcho-capitalists.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          That does seem a bit harsh.

        4. avatar Azman says:

          I wouldn’t even put it in with the anarcho capitalist crowd, who usually make some sense.That comment is flat out insane.

  9. avatar the ruester says:

    At first, he throws a rock at them Nolan Ryan style, then runs off. What happened before that? It seemed like the cops were occupied with something else, and he blindsided them. In that case, they are suddenly and violently under attack and must react in kind. They fire at the fleeing assailant, knowing only that he is willing to commit assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. As they run him down, he turns suddenly and flails his hands in front of him, and they have no choice but to shoot. Another possible scenario is that he was resisting arrest all along by implying armed escalation, and the police had to take him at his word. Very unlikely, in my mind, is a scenario where three white police officers decided to run down a black man in broad daylight and execute him for insulting their manhood.

    1. avatar MeRp says:

      Not a black man; he’s hispanic; Mexican to be specific.

      The police were called because he was throwing rocks at store fronts and cars (and maybe onlookers). They tried to “physically restrain” him first, when that didn’t work they tried to taze him (which may be what is happening at the start of the video where it looks like they take some shots at him), and, when that didn’t work, they continued to pursue, then, as seen in the video, when he turns to (apparently) confront them, they opened fire.

      1. avatar the ruester says:

        Ok, then, I have to say this; these videos are being selectively edited before they hit the tubes. I don’t believe for a second that the last minute of this incident is all that was captured by this bystander, knowing all of that.

        1. avatar MeRp says:

          It is possible that no one thought much of it until the cops pulled out the tazers, but I’m really not sure. I guess it is possible that the police somehow managed to round up everyone with phones nearby and make sure no one had video of what happened earlier, but I doubt it. I don’t think most people around here would bother to start videoing police as soon as they showed up to chase some guy who is throwing rocks around, especially so in that particular neighborhood.

        2. avatar JJVP says:

          If you bother to watch the video you can clearly see that the video was taken by the driver of a car that had stopped at the light. He saw what was happening, pulled out his phone and started filming the events that were unfolding in front of him. He could not film what happened before he got there. Nothing “edited” out.

        3. avatar the ruester says:

          JJVP,

          Yeah, I got that wrong. And consider that holding a cell phone while driving is a ticket most places.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          The minimum punishment ought to be “you’re fired”, since they can’t shoot worth a damn, sailing bullets all over the neighborhood, just lucky there weren’t more people killed. Send our Austin cop out there to teach them some stuff, killed an armed perp (active shooter) with one shot from his service pistol at 104 yards, while holding the reins of 2 horses in his other hand.

  10. avatar MeRp says:

    Drove by there this morning; there are a few paper signs and some mylar balloons. No protesters, at least not obvious ones.

    Also worth noting; the police chief (Metzger) isn’t running the investigation. Instead a local special investigative unit made by all the local police forces; Pasco is part of the Tri-Cities; a small metro area that covers 4 (yeah, I know that tri is supposed to mean 3) cities in two different counties.

    Not really certain why the national media decided to pick this one up. Maybe because there is so much phone camera footage of it?

    1. avatar Search says:

      There is Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland. What is the 4th? Are you referring to West Richland?

      1. avatar Art Out West says:

        I don’t think West Richland count unless you want to also count Finley and Burbank as well.

        1. avatar MeRp says:

          West Richland is an incorporated city. Burbank isn’t usually counted as part of the tri cities. I am not even sure Burbank has its own police force, and if they do I am pretty sure neither they, nor Walla Walla County sheriff dept are part of the inter agency special investigation force.

  11. avatar wactor says:

    hands clearly visible at all times while running. appears to drop something (as his hands were near his waist). once again, when you give others infinite power and you instill the fear of death into them and the power and righteousness of no real consequences, i too would always shoot first and not ask any questions later. people voted for this, so this is obviously what they want. the people who complain are obviously outliers.

  12. avatar Lawman 45 says:

    It can’t be training, can it? SHOOT every civilian that “gives you shit”. NO. It must be a psychological defect or an ego shortage. It is an unnatural desire to use force. Police officers appear to get their jollies through viscousness. 80% of them beat their wives and children, don’t they. The rule should be that anyone who WANTS to be a police officer isn’t suitable (with a few exceptions).

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      is your “80% of cops beat their wives and kids” like the old “80% of statistics are made up”?

    2. avatar BlueBronco says:

      Farnam would say the waited too long to mag dump on him. The should have done that when he was throwing rocks is what he would say.

  13. avatar Vitsaus says:

    I’m sure some LE chief will do a statement saying “Don’t throw rocks if you don’t want to be executed on a busy public street.”

  14. avatar adm.fookbar says:

    So, the first pops when next to the car.. Gunfire or taser? I’ve never heard a taser discharged, and I have no idea if they make that sort of sound or not.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Those first pops are gunfire. Tasers only allow you to fire once and there were not seven cops shooting tasers.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        The C2, and X26 are single shot. The X2 holds two rounds and the X3 holds three. The X2 basically shoots with each trigger pull like a side by side shotgun, only with 21-35′ range cartridges. We carry the X2. Not sure what these guys have. Although the Taser makes a popping noise when fired, it isn’t very loud. I doubt it would be audible inside a car.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Wrong. Those first pops could easily be a failed taser attempt.

        A Taser is not as loud as a gun… in person. Youtube distorts things quite a bit.

  15. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    One of the most life threatening situations to find yourself in is to be mentally challenged, not behaving well—or just not acting right—and to come face to face with the police. While it’ll be interesting to hear what the official version of events is, what we can see from this video is a good example of what collective behavior theorists refer to as “contagion”.

    From Wikipedia:

    “In the organizational psychology literature, a growing body of research is dedicated to the aspects of emotional labor. In short, it deals with the . . . . need to manage emotions so that they are consistent with organizational or occupational display rules, regardless of whether they are discrepant with internal feelings. In regard to emotional contagion, in work settings that require a certain display of emotions, one finds himself obligated to display, and consequently feel, these emotions. In a process where surface acting develops into deep acting, emotional contagion is the byproduct of intentional affective impression management. . . .” (Emphasis mine)

    What this means is that once a cop starts to open fire, all the cops with him—even if they think they shouldn’t—can feel an obligation to also open fire.

    1. avatar Art Out West says:

      When cops open fire, they also usually empty their magazines, (or close to it) as well. I noticed at least thirteen shots fired. That is a lot for a rock chucker.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        I think an important question is why did they even have their guns drawn?

        1. avatar Alex says:

          Exactly. How many of these videos of public executions carried out by police have I seen recently? Too many. Why are these cops so scared of this man? No one tries flanking him. They just grouped together In fear and sprayed him with lead. F that.
          What’s next, missle strikes on jaywalkers?
          I usually give cops the benefit of the doubt. But this? No.

  16. avatar BigSky says:

    The cops are the most recent valedictorians from Defense Training International. As John S. Farnam would say “If you are within arms reach of a suspect throwing rocks..Always step back pull your service weapon and shoot them in the back as they turn to run…well done boys”. Especially when there are 3 cops within arms reach.

    1. avatar BigSky says:

      ^ Obviously Sarcasm

  17. avatar Shane in Chandler says:

    Ya, rocks can’t hit anything. Cept maybe bones or your eyeballs. But that’s it.

    1. avatar Art Out West says:

      If the Israels responded to rock throwers like this. We would have tons of dead Palestinian youths, and you would probably be outaged.

  18. avatar Raed says:

    I think everyone expects more from the police. There was very close to zero threat, particularly when the flurry of shots came at the end of the confrontation. There were a lot of shots that that left the barrels the police and it appeared it wasn’t just one guy hyped up on the adrenaline of the moment. This hurts law enforcement and they shouldn’t want these people to represent them.

  19. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    I’m wondering if El Mac would agree that this is a legitimate instance of police acting in the wrong?

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      The day that happens is the day I start selling snow shoes in hell.

  20. avatar Aaron says:

    So, do they teach police officers anything these days about dealing with nutbags between doing nothing and shooting them dead?

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      Bingo.

  21. avatar Ralph says:

    Don’t blame the cops in the viddy. They had just finished reading Farnam’s “kill ’em all” screed and were just doing their part.

    Note to cops — never go full Farnam.

  22. avatar Alex waits says:

    This doesn’t look good.

  23. avatar Grindstone says:

    7 cops, all of which are volunteers, are so scared of one guy, possibly mentally challenged, throwing rocks that they *have* to blow him away as soon as he turns. How is his life worth less than theirs? They volunteered to be cops, to put *their* lives on the line, not everyone else’s.

  24. avatar John says:

    Whatever happened to cops wrestling suspects to the ground? Granted, maybe the guy was built like a fire truck and could easily overpower the three cops, but I kinda doubt it.

    Why does it seem like the cops are escalating right to lethal force in so many instances?

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      Cops fear knives.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        That’s a good thing.

  25. avatar dan says:

    In your face..execution…MURDER by lawful standards…’officer safety’…. in this POLICE STATE OF AMERIKA….imho

  26. avatar Blain Cooper says:

    Pigs gonna pig. Paid vacation has already started.

  27. avatar Skyler says:

    Thanks Farnham. You jerk.

    There was no reason to even run after this man. They could have just walked after him.

    I hope these police officers rot in jail for a long time for the murder of this man.

  28. avatar Chris says:

    I’m from a town not too far from where this occurred. I hope there are not any riots as a result if this.

    I also hope all three of these assholes are convicted of murder and receive life without parole or the death sentence. There is no excuse for what they did.

  29. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    But but but he had a rock! Maybe they think they are 007…license to kill.

  30. avatar GuyFromV says:

    I’m in the town with the penitentiary in it about 45 minutes away, nothing exciting like that ever happens here. Except the hangings and lethal injections.

    1. avatar Fuque says:

      Either Walla -Walla or Connell… Wall walla had that shotgun shooting by the store owner when the guy broke in a couple of years ago…. But yeah, Connell…Besides coyote ridge…. You can sit by and watch the gum melt on the sidewalk.

  31. avatar GuyFromV says:

    I just heard on a radio station coming out of the Tri-Cities (which includes Pasco) that the coroner has requested an inquest into the shooting and now lawyers involved with the Rodney King shooting are representing the families in a $25 million suit against the city and officers. I’ll need some popcorn for this.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I suspect that suit should be settled if possible.

  32. avatar Warlocc says:

    I’m seriously reconsidering my decision to carry- I’m more likely to use it on a cop than “bad guy”, it seems like.

  33. avatar Bill Heeb says:

    The first clue of an absence of community policing is when the citizens throw rocks at the officers. Isn’t it amazing that three officers in Pasco, WA can create an international incident with Mexico. And in Madison, AL one officer accomplished the same thing with India. Big week for U.S. diplomacy. When are the police going to be trained to de-escalate a situation instead of always escalating it? I want to trust the police, but because a few officers are out of control, I don’t feel safe trusting any of them. I mean, how are you supposed to know who the crazy ones are when they all wear the same uniform?

  34. avatar Fuque says:

    One of the Cops that did the killing was in hot water earlier for beating the shit out of an innocent woman in 2012….cost the city 100k to settle the case.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      And he’s still on the job. This will be expensive. Do we want to start an office pool on which cop started shooting first?

  35. avatar kap says:

    Maybe another illegal, we don’t have too support!, a homeless man trying to flee police by throwing rocks {themselves considered a deadly weapon} is a tad bit suspicious behavior! If police were using 9mm’s it is no wonder they handcuffed a dead man! it is what it is! playing what if games is jist plain silly

  36. avatar Carl says:

    The City of Pasco recently lost a long-time City manager. He was a driving force behind a plunging crime rate and economic prosperity for all in Pasco. As he retired, so did a Chief of Police equally skilled and well respected. The recent rash of shootings in Pasco have occurred subsequent to the departure of the top cop. As the result of poorly vetted replacements, all hell is hitting the fan. Under the past City manager, and a City Council of just a few years ago there would have been heads on platters long before this most recent atrocity ever had a chance to happen.

  37. avatar Big B says:

    I don’t understand the whole “it’s just a rock” argument. Throwing rocks isn’t dangerous? I sure wouldn’t throw rocks at an armed individual without expecting return gunfire. I don’t know if the dead guy had anything in his hands when he pointed them at the police but damn people, you have to know you are at risk of getting shot when you suddenly point at cops when you are running from them.
    This is not me explaining that cops don’t do any wrong. But everyone seems to believe that the police can only use deadly force on actual armed individuals after they have started shooting at them. They don’t have the time to study the situation. Maybe these cops are guilty but that is for someone with all of the facts to determine. Not someone watching a blurry video.

    1. avatar C. Z. says:

      I think those are all valid observations and thoughts in general, however in this situation I don’t think there is any way to finesse this particular incident other than dead wrong.

      Whether or not this rises to a crime or not hopefully will be determined by the courts. One of the frustrations is that police killing non police almost is never determined by a trial.

  38. avatar Ray says:

    Looks like street justice to me. I think bodycams will help migrate from “I thought he was threatening me” to “let’s see where in the video he was a threat.”

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