The recent shooting death of an unarmed black man by a white South Carolina police officer that was caught on tape has revived calls for justice in a small Washington state town for the killing of a Mexican migrant worker by three local law enforcement members.
The announcement that North Charleston, S.C. Officer Michael Slager will be charged with the killing of 50-year old Walter Scott was called a "lesson" to officials in the city of Pasco, Wash. by a Latino rights group seeking to bring charges against the policemen who killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes in February.
"Pasco passed up on an opportunity to do the right thing," a press release from Consejo Latino said. "This should be a lesson to the city of Pasco, which could have similarly requested that Franklin County charge the three policemen who killed Mr. Zambrano."
Much like Scott’s killing, the shooting of Zambrano-Montes was also caught on video. None of the Pasco officers involved have been charged with a crime.
Police say Zambrano-Montes' threatening behavior led officers to open fire. The 35-year-old allegedly threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. They say a stun gun failed to subdue him before he fled from the scene and was eventually shot to death.
Consejo Latino has pushed for a thorough investigation into the death of Zambrano-Montes and has also asked the U.S. Justice Department to conduct its own investigation into the killing, saying that having local authorities investigate the case poses a conflict of interest.
"It appears inescapable that the lethal force applied by these police officers was excessive in the extreme and, as such, it constituted a violation of Mr. Zambrano's constitutional rights," Consejo Latino Chairman Felix Vargas wrote in his letter to the Justice Department.
Late last month, however, Washington Governor Jay Inslee rejected Consejo Latino’s request to have Franklin County prosecutor Shawn Sant removed from the Antonio Zambrano-Montes case.
The governor wrote in a letter to Vargas that there is no current reason for Sant not to be able to conduct a proper and thorough investigation.