Justice Dept. probe sought of police shooting in Pasco, Wash


One of the most outspoken Hispanic leaders calling for a federal investigation of the fatal police shooting of Antonio Zambrano Montes in Pasco, Wash., is taking the community’s fight to Capitol Hill.

Felix Vargas, chairman of Consejo Latino, has meetings planned Thursday and Friday with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Supporters for the police officers involved in the February shooting said calls for a federal investigation were premature considering a special multi-agency investigation was already underway in the state.

Vargas plans to cite last week’s Department of Justice report on the Ferguson, Mo., police department’s systemic discrimination as a reason to conduct a Pasco investigation. A Ferguson officer was cleared of wrongdoing in the killing of unarmed resident Michael Brown last summer, but the findings in the separate report about the troubled Missouri department resonate in southeast Washington state, Vargas said. Those findings include that the Ferguson Police Department practiced racially biased enforcement and that it used unnecessary force on people with mental health issues.

“It’s something that is worth looking into here,” Vargas said in a telephone interview before his cross-country flight.

Vargas doesn’t contend the Pasco shooting was racially motivated, but he thinks it’s a matter for the Justice Department to pursue.

Why don’t we just have the DOJ investigate every police shooting and not waste anymore local resources? Mr. Vargas says it was not racially motivated so why the call for the DOJ? He is another grandstander learning from the likes of Al “get em riled up” Sharpton.