Three police officers were cleared in the shooting death of illegal immigrant Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Washington state.
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The AP reported:
Three police officers in Washington state who fatally shot a rock-throwing Mexican immigrant in February will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced Wednesday, saying there was no evidence the officers acted with malice.
The death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, was captured on cellphone video and sparked months of protests in Pasco, an agricultural center in eastern Washington. Witnesses said Zambrano-Montes fought with an officer, threw rocks and repeatedly told officers to kill him before they opened fire.
At a news conference repeatedly interrupted by protesters Wednesday, Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said the evidence showed that the officers used legal force as they tried to arrest a man who had assaulted them and was threatening to attack them further. Sant said he could not meet the high bar for criminal prosecution under Washington state law, which requires a showing that the officers acted with malice and without good faith that their actions were justified.
“The officers used legal force to prevent injuries to themselves and others,” the prosecutor said. “Certainly there is no evidence of malice.”
The shooting occurred Feb. 10 in a busy intersection, as Zambrano-Montes, high on meth, threw rocks at police. They tried unsuccessfully to subdue him with a stun gun, then, after he threw a rock at an officer’s head, Officer Adam Wright shot, striking him in the arm, Sant said. The three officers then chased him across a street.
Video of the shooting showed the officers following Zambrano-Montes, then firing a second volley of shots as he turned to face them. Wright told investigators the man was transferring a rock from his left hand to his right, apparently preparing to throw again. At least one video shows movements consistent with that description, and investigators said a rock weighing nearly 3 pounds was found by Zambrano-Montes’ body.
The video of Zambrano-Montes confronting police was widely distributed on YouTube.