PASCO, Wash. (AP) — A coroner's inquest to shed more light into the police killing of a Mexican shot numerous times last year by three officers in the Washington state city of Pasco has been scheduled to start on Monday, officials said.
Jury selection will begin to choose 12 jurors from a pool of 75 residents from rural Franklin County, where Pasco was the site of weeks of peaceful protests by Latinos after the Feb. 10, 2015, killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, County Coroner Dan Blasdel said Wednesday.
Coroner's inquests are judicial proceedings to present evidence about deaths, and juries can reach conclusions and make recommendations to prosecutors. The jury's conclusions are not binding, but the public setting of the quasi-judicial proceeding could provide more details about the killing of the 35-year-old farmworker.
"It's a means to uncover the facts of the death for the general public," Blasdel has said.
No charges were filed against Pasco police officers Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz after they shot Zambrano-Montes, who authorities said was high on methamphetamine and throwing rocks at vehicles and police just before he was killed.
Officers fired taser shots at Zambrano-Montes that had no effect. They then chased him on foot in images captured on video and shot him as he appeared to turn around and face them. Officers fired 17 bullets, striking Zambrano-Montes at least several times but an autopsy was unable to determine precisely how many bullets hit him.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant previously said the evidence did not show the officers acted with malice, the legal standard to convict law enforcement in Washington state.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson agreed with Sant's conclusion after a review ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee. Michael Ormsby, the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington, also declined to prosecute the officers.
Zambrano-Montes' parents and widow have filed separate lawsuits against the city Pasco in federal court.
Zambrano-Montes had been living illegally in the Pasco area for more than a decade.
He was originally from a village in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
His killing drew parallels to unrelated shootings of unarmed minorities elsewhere in the nation and was condemned by Mexico's government.
Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com