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One Year After Pasco Shooting, ACLU Says City Efforts Not Enough

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Community leaders in the Tri-Cities and the ACLU of Washington called a press conference, rally and march in downtown Pasco on Wednesday near where Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot by police last February.

A year after Pasco police officers shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes in a busy intersection, community activists and the ACLU of Washington say city efforts aren’t enough.

The ACLU’s new report on the Pasco shooting claims there is a lack of police training on de-escalation and dealing with people with mental illness.

Jennifer Shaw of the ACLU pointed out at a press conference Wednesday at a Mexican bakery near the corner where Zambrano-Montes was killed, that a large percentage of the Pasco population speaks Spanish as a first language -- like Zambrano-Montes did.

"Yet the police department website and all the materials are in English," Shaw said. "Any kind of outreach that's available is in English. And how to interact and engage in a community that doesn't speak English is beyond me when those Spanish-language materials aren't available."

Jeremy Peterson is a spokesman for Occupy Tri-Cities, a group formed after last year’s shooting. He called for Pasco’s police chief to step down.

“It’s up to us community members, people that are brave enough to come out and stand in the street, possibly get arrested, so that this issue stays in the public eye,” Peterson said.

The City of Pasco said it has made efforts like its “Coffee with a Cop” program and a citizens’ academy offered in Spanish.

Zambrano-Montes, was a Mexican farmworker. He was shot by three officers last February after he threw rocks. Many bystanders caught the chase on cell phone video.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.