CRIME

New Videos Show Aftermath Of Police Shooting Rock-Throwing Man

Yes, he threw rocks, but was he a "lethal threat"?

 A Washington state prosecutor has been releasing a trove of videos, interviews and other evidence in an ongoing investigation of three police officers who fatally shot a homeless man in February.  

Officers Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz fired 17 shots at orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who'd been lobbing rocks at traffic before taking aim at them. Bystanders recorded police chasing after Zambrano-Montes and shooting at him after he turned to face them with his hands held about waist high. The incident took place in Pasco, in the southeastern part of the state.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sent hasn't decided whether to file charges against the three officers, who each fired their guns at least once. Though a decision on the case might not be made for months, Sent has been distributing evidence about the case once a week since July 1, and is expected to continue doing so while reviewing the shooting. On Wednesday, he released a third round of evidence to the public.

The new videos show the aftermath of the shooting. One, taken from an officer's dashboard camera, shows Zambrano-Montes motionless and lying on the sidewalk as blood trickles along the sidewalk. Officers and EMTs walk back and forth and bend down to examine him. About 14 minutes into the video, someone appears to place a white sheet over Zambrano-Montes' body. 

Zambrano-Montes' killing set off protests in the small city, which had seen police commit three other fatal shootings in the previous six months. 

Critics don’t dispute that Zambrano-Montes acted erratically and threw rocks. But they dispute the officers' claim that their lives were in jeopardy because of his behavior.

"Nobody who knows him saw Antonio as anything other than a disturbed, depressed homeless man who had a drug problem. There is no doubt that he had all of those issues," said Rick Rios of Consejo Latino, a group calling for police reform. "But at no time did he present a lethal threat."

A video released earlier shows an officer firing his gun soon after exiting a patrol car. 

Witnesses to the shooting also recorded other portions of the standoff, including a chase through traffic. Some witnesses have said they heard Zambrano-Montes tell police to shoot him. 

Sent has also released crime scene photos, interviews with officers and witnesses, and diagrams showing the positions of police cars and the location of bullets.

Dean Perry, a Pasco police officer, said in one of the recordings that he kept the three officers who fired their guns in separate cars and ordered other police not to speak to them. Flanagan, the officer who told Perry that he'd been hit in the head with a rock, resigned from the department in June.  

Wright, another one of the officers, said in a previously released interview that he pulled the trigger because he feared that police or members of the public would be seriously hurt or even killed by Zambrano-Montes. 

An attorney for Zambrano-Montes' family filed a claim earlier this month against the city of Pasco, seeking $4,762,963.18 in damages.