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Latino Groups Plan March To Denounce Pasco Shooting Investigation

Several Latino organizations are planning an April 11 mass march to press for justice in the case of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, the 35-year-old Mexican immigrant who was shot to death by Pasco, Washington police last February.

They are unhappy with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision not to direct the state Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor in the Feb. 10 police shooting. The decision, march organizers said Friday, leaves the investigation in the hands of entities with conflicts of interest -- county prosecutor Shawn Sant and a special unit that includes law enforcement officers from the Tri-Cities metro area, which includes the city of Pasco.

Though Pasco police are not part of the special investigative unit, they work closely every day with Tri-Cities police, Moses Chege, a march organizer with the Washington Dream Act Coalition, told NBC News on Friday.

“We feel very strongly that the governor failed to provide justice in this situation,” Chege said.

Hispanic leaders in this agricultural city of about 68,000 residents have previously asked Sant to step aside.

Organizers said they will announce details of the march on April 6 at the site where Zambrano-Montes was gunned down. Some of his family members will be joined by members of the organizing groups, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and the Washington Dream Act Coalition.

Zambrano-Montes, an orchard worker who police said was unarmed, was reportedly shot 17 times after police said he had been throwing rocks and acting erratically.

The fatal shooting death, the fourth by police in Pasco in the previous six months, sparked outrage in the U.S. and Mexico and calls for a federal investigation to determine if Zambrano-Montes’ civil rights were violated and if police used excessive force. The shooting was captured on a widely seen video.

--Juan Castillo