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Police shooting of Hispanic man in Wash. state incites protests, is compared to Ferguson

Erika Zambrano holds a 2010 photo of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, outside the city hall in Pasco, Wash.

Erika Zambrano holds a 2010 photo of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, outside the city hall in Pasco, Wash.  (ap)

Angry residents in an agricultural area of southeastern Washington are planning protests after police shot and killed an orchard worker who allegedly threw rocks at officers.

According to media outlets, police in Pasco, about 215 miles southeast of Seattle, reportedly shot and killed 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes after he hit two officers with multiple rocks and refused to put others down.

Witness said Zambrano-Montes was spotted running away from police when the officers shot him.

The incident occurred Tuesday evening, but it was not picked up by statewide media until the incident sparked indignation among Washington State’s Latino community. Soon after, people took to social media on Thursday to compare the incident to the deaths of two African America men last year at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri and in New York.

Dozens of people who saw the shooting at a busy intersection videotaped the confrontation in Pasco, a city of about 68,000 people where more than half the residents are Hispanic.

Dario Infante, 21, recorded video from a vehicle about 50 feet away as the scene unfolded. In an email interview with the Associated Press, he said he decided to start recording when he saw an officer trying to use a stun gun on the man. Infante said he saw the man throw a few rocks at police officers but he didn't see him hit any of them. 

Five "pops" are audible shortly after the video begins, and the man can be seen running away, across a street and down a sidewalk, pursued by three officers.

As the officers draw closer to the running man, he stops, turns around and faces them. Multiple "pops" are heard and the man falls to the ground.

"He didn't throw any rocks after he started running," Infante said.

Police said Zambrano-Montes, a farmworker from Michoacan, Mexico had lived in the small city for about a decade and did not speak English.

On Wednesday, protesters took to the streets chanting “We want justice” in English and Spanish near the Pasco City Hall.

The ACLU of Washington also issued a statement, calling the incident "very disturbing."

"Fleeing from police and not following an officer's command should not be sufficient for a person to get shot," the group's executive director, Kathleen Taylor. Deadly force should be used only as a last resort, she said.

Latino leaders have called for further demonstrations again on Saturday.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press and EFE.

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