- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

PASCO, Wash. (AP) - The state Commission on Hispanic Affairs will hold public meetings in Pasco this weekend to allow members of the community to discuss the recent shooting of a Mexican man by police officers.

Commission chair Gloria Ochoa says that officials will mostly be listening to the community’s concerns and what should be done to move forward, the Tri-City Herald reported Thursday.

The shooting death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, on Feb. 10 sparked weeks of protests and demonstrations in Pasco. Three police officers fired a total of 17 bullets at the orchard worker, who they said was acting erratically at a busy intersection. He was hit at least five times, officials have said.

The public forums are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Columbia Basin College’s Pasco campus.

“We’re looking at the Zambrano-Montes case as a symptom of other systemic issues the community is concerned about,” Ochoa said. “Other communities have been able to take a bad situation and turn it around when people are willing to come to the table and start that dialogue.”

A joint law enforcement team called the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is reviewing the shooting. Their investigation is expected to take a few more weeks.

In addition, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel will oversee an inquest, possibly in May, in which a jury of six civilians will determine the cause and manner of death and if the shooting was justified. Then, Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant will decide if the officers should be charged.

Sant is scheduled to address the audience for 50 minutes on Friday, with an update on the investigation and to answer any questions.

The Commission on Hispanic Affairs is a nonpartisan group appointed by the governor. The board advises the governor’s office, legislators and anybody in a leadership position about decisions that impact the Latino community.

U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby of the Eastern District of Washington is expected at the public forum, in addition to Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell and Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger.


Information from: Tri-City Herald, https://www.tri-cityherald.com

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