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Zambrano daughters split $500k in shooting settlement

A federal judge has signed a settlement agreement that divides $750,000 among the survivors of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was killed in 2015 in a police shooting in Pasco.
A federal judge has signed a settlement agreement that divides $750,000 among the survivors of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was killed in 2015 in a police shooting in Pasco. Tri-City Herald

The daughters of a man shot to death by Pasco police in 2015 will split $500,000 of a $750,000 settlement.

A federal judge approved a deal this month that gives the two teen daughters of Antonio Zambrano-Montes the lion's share of a $750,000 agreement that settles their family's civil rights suit against the city of Pasco over the 2015 shooting death of their father.

The court initially rejected the offer in December because attorneys representing the parents, his children and their mother could not agree on how to split the money.

The daughters, now 18 and 15, will get about $125,000 each after fees and other costs are deducted from the settlement.

The money will be given as payments to an annuity that will provide ongoing income for both, according to Richard Johnson, a Yakima attorney who was appointed to serve as guardian ad litem for the daughters.

Both were minors at the time their father was killed.

ZM mug
Antonio Zambrano-Montes

Zambrano's parents, Agapita Montes-Rivera and J. Jesus Zambrano-Fernandez, both of Mexico, will receive $100,000 each, minus fees.

His daughters' mother, Teresa de Jesus Meraz Ruiz, will receive $50,000, minus fees.

An attorney representing the parents had initially insisted the daughters should receive $225,000 and that each parent should receive $125,000, noting that they would not settle for less.

Ruiz lives in the far eastern edge of the Bay Area with her daughters.

The settlement will be paid by the Washington Cities Insurance Authority, the city's insurance pool.

The legal case began in 2015 when the families sued in U.S. District Court, alleging the city and the three police officers involved in the shooting violated Zambrano-Montes' civil rights.

The cases were consolidated, with Ruiz serving as the lead plaintiff. The settlement agreement releases Pasco from all future claims concerning the case.

Zambrano-Montes, 35, an undocumented orchard worker, died Feb. 10, 2015, after being shot at 17 times by the officers responding to reports of a man throwing rocks at traffic near Fiesta Foods.

Video of the incident quickly spread, and the incident attracted national attention.

An autopsy revealed Zambrano-Montes had methamphetamine in his system.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant and Michael Ormsby, then the U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, declined to press charges against the officers, saying they acted in good faith and without malice.

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel pushed for two years to hold a public inquest into the death. That inquest jury concluded the officers reasonably believed the rock-throwing man posed a threat.

The case added to a wide-ranging debate over the difficulty of prosecuting officers involved in deaths under the state's 1986 "malice" statutes.

A legislative fix was approved in March, but its fate rests with the state Supreme Court.

De-escalate Washington, which has pushed for reform of the malice standard, supports the March legislation but says it stands ready to promote Initiative 940 if the court refers it to the November ballot.



Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514



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