Pasco Cops Cleared in Shooting of Man Who Threw Rocks Are Returned to Duty

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By Phil Helsel

Three Pasco, Washington, police officers who shot a Mexican national who threw rocks at them did not violate police procedures, the police department said Wednesday.

The two officers who are still on the force, Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz, were returned to duty, police said in a statement. A third officer, Ryan Flanagan, left the department in June for another job.

"We have exhaustively reviewed this incident, and my decision to return the officers to duty was founded on the determination that their actions were consistent with department policies and procedures," Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger said.

The police department said the Police Policy Studies Council in Spofford, N.H. also reviewed the incident. Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Sant announced earlier this month that the three officers would not be charged.

The officers shot Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, shortly after 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 after Zambrano-Montes threw rocks at officers near an intersection, police said.

Pasco Police officers investigate the scene on Feb. 10, 2015 of the shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was shot by police in Pasco, Wash.Andrew Jansen / Tri-City Herald via AP, file

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Police have said that officers tried to use a Taser stun gun to subdue Zambrano-Montes, but it had no effect. Autopsy tests returned "presumptive positive for amphetamines," according to police documents.

Cell phone video appeared to show Zambrano-Montes moving away from officers before he was shot. Sant said Zambrano-Montes turned and raised his arm, apparently to throw another rock, before he was shot.

Zambrano-Montes death sparked protests. The Mexican government called it an unjustifiable use of deadly force. Zambrano-Montes’ family has filed a civil suit against the city and the three officers.

RELATED: Officer Who Shot Rock-Throwing Man Told Investigators 'I Had to Act'

Metzger, the police chief, said the department has invited the Department of Justice to provide additional training, it has encouraged bi-lingual applicants to apply, and has increased training in crisis intervention.

Pasco is a town of around 68,000 people in the south-central part of the state. A little more than half of its residents are Hispanic, according to Census data.