Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel plans to ask the Franklin County Commission to authorize an additional $27,500 for an inquest into the death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes when it meets at 9 a.m. Aug. 31.
The commission has already authorized $25,000 for the inquest, which is to be held some time before Thanksgiving at Columbia Basin College in Pasco. The extra money will pay a local attorney to present facts in the case to an inquest jury.
Blasdel had intended to use a visiting prosecutor who later withdrew, which forced Blasdel to hire an attorney for the job.
Zambrano-Montes, 35, died i nFebruary 2015, after being shot at 17 times by three Pasco police officers. The Mexican citizen and farmworker was throwing rocks near Fiesta Foods and was later found to have been high on methamphetamine during the confrontation with police.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant and Michael Ormsby, the U.S. Attorney General for Eastern Washington, have declined to file state or federal charges against the officers. The dead man’s family has filed several civil suits.
Blasdel has wanted to conduct the inquest since the shooting. Advocates of an inquest want the public to have a chance to see witnesses testify about the fatal incident.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice released a 65-page evaluation of the Pasco Police Department that called for more training on the use of force and de-escalating conflict and urges the city to seek greater diversity in its police force.
The county commission meets at the Franklin County Courthouse at 1014 N. Fourth Ave., Pasco.