The U.S. Department of Justice plans to mediate confidential talks between Pasco police and community members aimed to improve relations in the city.
Pasco police Chief Bob Metzger has plans to meet with the community members April 2 to discuss how the city can best move forward in the wake of the Feb. 10 officer-involved shooting that left Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, dead.
The closed-door talks will be mediated by the DOJ’s Community Relations Service division, which focuses on peace efforts in communities in conflict over social rights issues.
Metzger told the Herald his department encourages the meetings and he looks forward to ironing out any issues community members have.
“I am very willing to sit down and listen to various community leaders and listen to what their concerns are,” he said.
Metzger does not know how long the talks will last, saying he did not want to put a time frame on how long it could take to come up with possible resolutions. The chief expects he will be the only member of the department involved.
Metzger said he and others involved will sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from discussing what was talked about.
Three Pasco officers shot at Zambrano-Montes 17 times after police say he threw at least one rock in their direction. The Mexican national who was an orchard worker in the area died on the sidewalk on Lewis Street across from Fiesta Foods.
A team of local police called the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is looking into the shooting. Their investigation is expected to take a few more weeks. Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant will then review the investigation before deciding if the officers should be held criminally responsible.