Back in February, a 35-year-old man was shot and killed by police officers after he started throwing rocks at them. A new video has surfaced showing the disturbing aftermath of the shooting, wherein a group of cops hesitantly examine the body and cover it in a white sheet.
According to the Huffington Post, the man was Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an orchard worker from Pasco, Washington. The incident started with Zambrano-Montes throwing rocks at passing traffic. But when the police showed up, he turned his aim to them. This prompted them to retaliate with deadly force. Now an investigation is underway to determine the legality of the killing and whether or not the officers’ lives were threatened simply because a man was throwing rocks at them.
The police officers, Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright, and Adrian Alaniz, fired a total of 17 shots at Antonio Zambrano-Montes, hitting him somewhere between five and eight times. Like many unlawful police shootings lately, the entire incident was captured on video by pedestrians and bystanders. The footage depicts the orchard worker throwing rocks at the cops at close range, then running away when they draw their weapons. Zambrano-Montes crosses the street, then turns around to face the officers with his hands up before he is shot dead.
At this point, Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sent isn’t sure if the three officers are going to be prosecuted for killing a man for throwing rocks, but the evidence is currently being reviewed.
The aftermath video clearly showed Antonio Zambrano-Montes dead on the ground after throwing rocks, with blood pooling around his body while officers seem to slowly decide what should be done.
To make matters worse for the police officers at the scene, an autopsy revealed that the Mexican man was shot from behind twice before he was killed, according to CNN. This contradicts what the officers reported after the incident, and suggests that Zambrano-Montes was shot while running away — after he had stopped throwing rocks and was no longer a threat to Flanagan, Wright, and Alaniz.
Consejo Latino, a social group demanding police reform, have defended the man; and while they admit it was foolish to be throwing rocks at police officers, they claim he was a homeless man with many problems. Some witnesses claim he not only provoked the police by throwing rocks but by telling them to shoot him.
“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 from Consejo Latino. “But at no time did he present a lethal threat.”
Do you think the man should have been killed for throwing rocks at police officers? Or do you think throwing rocks warrants deadly force?