Criminal charges will not be pressed against three Washington state police officers who shot dead a Mexican immigrant in February, a prosecutor said Wednesday. There was no evidence to show that the officers had malice, the prosecutor added.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said that Adam Wright, Ryan Flanagan and Adrian Alaniz of the Pasco Police Department used legal force as they attempted to arrest Antonio Zambrano-Montes who threw rocks at them and threatened to attack them, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The officers reportedly used a stun gun to subdue the 35-year-old, who was high on meth, but failed. Wright shot him in the arm and the officers chased him across a street, Sant added.
A video of the incident filmed by a witness reportedly showed the officers following Zambrano-Montes and opening fire when he turned to face them. Wright told authorities that Zambrano-Montes was transferring a rock, weighing about 3 pounds, from his left hand to his right, appearing to throw again.
"I believe that a unanimous jury would not find the presence of malice or absence of good faith in this case," Sant said, according to Reuters.
The shooting caused uproar among the Hispanic community in Washington state. George Trejo, an attorney to Zambrano-Montes’ family, said his client was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.
According to Reuters, Zambrano-Montes’ family filed a federal lawsuit last week seeking more than $25 million in damages and argued that the three officers violated his civil rights.
"We are not surprised by this decision but disgusted and disappointed," Trejo reportedly said.
Following the shooting, Flanagan resigned, while Wright and Alaniz were placed on paid leave. The Pasco Police Department said Wednesday that an internal review into the incident is almost complete.