- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The parents of an unarmed orchard worker shot to death by Pasco police last year have filed a federal court lawsuit contending the officers used excessive force in the case.

Agapita Montes Rivera and Jesus Zambrano Fernandez, who live in Parotita, Mexico, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington.

Named as defendants were the city of Pasco, Police Chief Robert Metzger and the three police officers who shot Antonio Zambrano Montes, 35.

The Feb. 10 shooting of Zambrano-Montes, a Mexican national, was captured on cellphone video that went viral and sparked weeks of peaceful protests in Pasco. The orchard worker was shot numerous times as he threw rocks at police at a busy downtown intersection.

“It’s obvious that 17 shots, resulting in 7-8 bullet wounds in a man who was first fleeing and then attempting to surrender, was excessive in the extreme,” said attorney Charles Herrmann of Seattle, who filed the lawsuit.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Numerous other lawsuits have already been filed in the case.

Herrmann contended the city and its police chief did not properly train officers in the de-escalation of conflict and the use of non-lethal means when dealing with mentally disturbed people.

No charges were filed against the officers, after a police review concluded they did not violate policies and procedures in the shooting.

The review determined that Zambrano-Montes controlled much of his interaction with the officers, and their use of deadly force was consistent with Pasco Police Department policy.

An autopsy showed Zambrano-Montes had meth in his system at the time of the shooting. He also had a history of mental illness and previous interactions with police.

Officers Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz have returned to work. The other officer involved in the incident, Ryan Flanagan, has since left the department.

“While local law enforcement whitewashed this killing in deciding not to file criminal charges, this case demands a full public civil trial before a fair and impartial jury,” Herrmann said. “Justice is coming.”

Federal investigators are also looking into the shooting to determine if any federal laws were violated. The state of Washington is reviewing the prosecutor’s decision against filing charges.

The case is also being watched by the Mexican government, which earlier expressed disappointment with the decision not to file charges.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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