Ten days after three Pasco, Washington police officers shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes
, his family is still searching for answers
. Homeless and struggling with mental-illness, Antonio had been seen throwing rocks before police chased him down and shot him. The video, seen in full below, clearly shows Antonio attempting to surrender when police shoot him over and over again.
While his family clearly knows that the cause of his death is this shooting, they are requesting an independent autopsy. Their concern is valid since the police in Pasco, Washington, a town of just 59,000 people, have killed more people in the past six months than the police force of the United Kingdom, which has 60,000,000 residents. What's troubling about this investigation, and about the investigation of many police shootings in general, is that current and former officers, who are fiercely loyal to each other, are leading it.
According to the Yakima Herald, the "Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, a 15-member team primarily comprised of officers from four departments in Benton and Franklin counties" is leading the investigation and the final verdict "will be reviewed by Sant, a former police officer in Prosser and reserve officer in Richland. He will ultimately decide if criminal charges should be filed."
This fundamental model is flawed and all but guarantees that no officers will be held legally responsible for this unjust shooting. Officers are like a family or a fraternity and the idea that family members are in charge of investigating family members is just absurd. A model of independence is absolutely needed if people are going to trust police and the justice system moving forward.
Head below the fold to see the full video of the incident.