Officer who shot Mexican farmworker in Washington state resigns

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2015 9:01 PM

SEATTLE (Reuters) - One of three police officers who shot dead an unarmed Mexican farmworker in Washington state, triggering protests akin to those after police slayings in other U.S. cities, has resigned from his job amid an investigation into the videotaped struggle.

Pasco Police Department officer Ryan Flanagan was one of three patrolmen who shot and killed farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes at a busy intersection in the southeastern agricultural city on Feb. 10 after police said the undocumented immigrant threw rocks at the officers.

In a two-sentence letter to police and city officials, Flanagan said he decided to resign effective July 2, bringing to an end 10 years of service in the department.

His attorney, Scott Johnson, said he accepted a project management job for a home builder in the Pasco area and broader state.

"As a result of going through the whole experience, he and his family decided law enforcement might not be something he wanted to continue on in," Johnson said. "While they were considering that, this (job) opportunity came up."

Zambrano-Montes' death was captured on video and the majority Latino community has likened it to police slayings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. Hundreds took to the streets to demonstrate against policing tactics in the town more than 200 miles (322 km) southeast of Seattle.

Zambrano-Montes' family and civil rights groups have called for a federal probe, and the U.S. Justice Department said it was providing training to Pasco police.

Flanagan had come under scrutiny for his patrol tactics before. In 2012 ,Pasco settled a 2012 lawsuit for $100,000 brought by a woman who said Flanagan and another officer shoved her face against a patrol car and twisted her arms behind.

There was no word on the plans of the other officers, one of whom, Adam Wright, came to the immigrant's aid during a house fire a month earlier.

A coroner's inquest could begin later this summer, after which a county prosecutor will decide whether to bring charges against the officers.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Lisa Lambert in Washington)