An inquest into the death of a Mexican man killed by Pasco police officers more than a year ago likely will be delayed, said Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel.
The inquest into Antonio Zambrano-Montes’ death was scheduled to begin May 23 at Columbia Basin College, with a Columbia County prosecutor set to present the case to a jury of six.
But former Pasco police officer Ryan Flanagan, one of three officers involved in the shooting, filed a motion with Franklin Superior Court last week, asking the court to remove Blasdel. Flanagan’s attorney Scott Johnson of Kennewick said in the filing that Blasdel’s comments to the media demonstrate he would be biased during the inquest.
Blasdel has called the assertions ridiculous, said some of his comments were misconstrued and that he isn’t presiding over the inquest, only organizing it.
However, the inquest can’t proceed until Flanagan’s motion has a hearing, Blasdel said, and one has yet to be scheduled.
Court administrators are struggling to find a judge outside Benton and Franklin counties to hear the matter as local Superior Court judges have recused themselves.