CRIME

Family Wants New Autopsy In Police Killing Of Antonio Zambrano-Montes

02/19/2015 11:56 pm ET

A second autopsy will be conducted on the rock-throwing Mexican orchard worker shot to death by police in Washington state after his family requested an independent examination.

The fatal shooting of 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes by police officers on Feb. 10 was captured on a widely seen video. With three other police killings in the small city in the previous six months, Pasco, Washington, has become a new flash point in the national debate about police violence.

A forensic pathologist selected by Zambrano-Montes' family may perform the additional exam as early as Friday morning, according to an advocate.

"This incident as shown graphically on the YouTube videos demonstrates that there has been a major breakdown in established norms for the police in handling confrontations with common, ordinary people on the streets," said Rick Rios, chairman of the group Consejo Latino. "I can only imagine that they want their own independent examination before the body is released."

Three Pasco cops encountered Zambrano-Montes in a supermarket parking lot following complaints that he'd lobbed rocks at cars and trucks, according to a police department statement. In the ensuing confrontation, two officers allegedly got hit by stones thrown by Zambrano-Montes.

The video, recorded on a phone by a witness inside a car, shows Zambrano-Montes running through traffic from the police. They shoot him in a flurry of bullets when he slows and faces them with his hands held about waist high.

The police department described it as "threatening behavior." Critics said Zambrano-Montes appeared to be unarmed, or perhaps was holding a small rock in his palm.

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel told HuffPost he couldn't reveal much about the autopsy he already performed on Zambrano-Montes.

"The only thing that’s available is that he was shot multiple times in the torso," Blasdel said by phone on Thursday. He was notified earlier in the day that the family planned to have a second opinion.

Toxicology tests are expected in six to eight weeks, Blasdel said. After that, there will be a coroner's inquest in which a jury decides if the killing was justified.

The Pasco Police Department declined to provide any additional information, because the case is under review by the Tri-City Special Investigation Unit, with members drawn from local and state agencies.

The three officers involved have been placed on leave until the investigation is complete.

HuffPost could not reach members of Zambrano-Montes' family.

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