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Pasco cops killed a Hispanic man this week for throwing rocks

This disturbing video shows Pasco, Washington, police fatally shooting a rock-throwing man earlier this week.

What’s a human life worth to trigger-happy cops? Damned little, especially if he’s a migrant worker from Mexico with a history of drug use and previous run-ins with the police.

In Washington state, the legal test of justifiable homicide is whether the subject’s actions put someone else at imminent risk of death or grave bodily harm. When Pasco police killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes on Tuesday, he was threatening to throw rocks at them. Does that satisfy the legal test?

There’s no question this was a legitimate police response. The police were called because Zambrona-Montes was throwing rocks at passing cars. They had a duty to arrest him. He resisted, throw rocks at the police, tried to run away. But watch the video and then ask yourself whether his actions put any of the officers at risk of “death or grave bodily harm.” Really?

As this article points out, the Pasco police have killed 4 people in the last 6 months, more than all the police in U.K. have killed in the last three years. That’s a city of 59,000 people whose cops, in absolute (not population-adjusted) numbers has more police killings of citizens in 6 months than a country of 80,000,000 people does in 3 years. Something is out of whack in Pasco.

A Daily Kos writer called this latest killing “unethical.” Another question you might ask yourself is, was it racist? Would this guy be dead if he was white?

In recent months, the issue of killer cops has gotten much higher media visibility following the shooting of 19-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August. America’s police kill more than 400 civilians every year — nobody knows for sure exactly how many, because for some strange reason, there’s no system of centralized mandatory reporting of police shootings in this country. What is clear, though, is that America’s trigger-happy police are out of control.

And, apparently, answerable to no one. The public has seen again and again that prosecutors refuse to charge and grand juries refuse to indict killer cops. Police unions successfully fight even minor discipline of cops who kill, so these cops don’t lose their jobs or even a day’s pay. Police enjoy qualified immunity from civil lawsuits, so in the vast majority of cases, even entirely innocent citizens victimized by abusive cops have no recourse in the courts. Therefore, should anyone be surprised that a shocked, angry, fed-up public has taken to the streets to protest against America’s epidemic of unrestrained police violence against the citizens they were hire to serve and protect?

 

 


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