Police in Washington state fatally shot a 35-year-old Mexican immigrant in Washington state last month. Allegedly, the migrant farmworker threw rocks at police and tried to run away, when police responded by shooting him seven times. According to an attorney representing the man's family, he was shot two times from behind while he was trying to escape.
The 35-year-old farmworker was unemployed in Pasco, Washington, at the time of the shooting. The incident inspired protests by activists who claimed that authorities are being too aggressive in their policing of the city's Hispanic population, which comprises the majority of Pasco's residents. Protestors compared the fatal shooting to the killings of unarmed African Americans in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.
Shooting Recorded on Video
The entire tragedy was recorded on video. In the footage, the man can be seen running away and then turning toward police. He raised his arms before he was shot dead. Police fired 17 shots at the farmworker. Allegedly, the man refused to surrender and officers unsuccessfully tried to subdue him with a stun gun before they opened fire.
According to a lawyer representing the man's widow and children, an autopsy has revealed that he received seven gunshot wounds. Two of the bullets hit him in the face and chest and two hit him from behind in his buttock and arm. Conversely, police reports did not say that the man was shot from behind. The family's attorney stated that his findings differ substantially from police statements.
Family May Have Viable Wrongful Death Claim
Considering the brutal nature of this man's death and the fact that he did not appear armed aside from the rocks he threw at officers, the case definitely warrants further investigation. If the man's autopsy reports do indeed disagree with officer reports, it could serve to discredit officer testimony regarding what happened prior to the shooting, which would, in turn, bolster any wrongful death claims made by the man's family.
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