Chants of ‘Use your training not your gun’ and ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ rang out Wednesday from Pasco city hall as more than 100 people gathered to protest the fatal police shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
The crowd also took to the streets at nighttime for a candlelight vigil at the spot where Zambrano-Montes was shot. Hundreds gathered near 10th Avenue and Lewis Street and called for action.
Protestors say they had no choice but to take a stand after watching video of Zambrano-Montes, 35, being shot by officers.
People lined the walkway in front of city hall during the day and yelled for Chief Bob Metzger to come out and talk. Some protestors even went into the building to the police offices to demand that he speak.
Many described the shooting as a “murder” and asked for the officers to be held criminally responsible.
The protest, advertised on social media, was organized by community leaders and Occupy Tri-Cities.
Jeremy Peterson told the Herald the rally was a chance for the community to show police they had a unified voice and wouldn’t stand for violence. He decided to help organize the protest after watching videos of the shooting online and seeing the anger from citizens.
“When the community sees people being gunned down in the streets, it’s an indication something is wrong,” said Peterson, a local artist. “We saw the videos online and we were watching the narrative emerge in the community. We saw a lot of outrage and emotions due to the video.”
The crowd grew as the afternoon went on. By 3 p.m., there was a large group waiting to hear from police. Police officials decided not to come out and instead ushered Zambrano-Montes’ family inside city hall.
Fran Wilson and Marie Porter said they felt compelled to come show their support for a man they didn’t know because they felt the shooting was uncalled for. Porter called for better training and Wilson held a sign that read, ‘Rock, paper, scissors, gun?’
“To take a life, your life has to be in danger,” Wilson said. “This was not justice. I’m sorry. It was obviously unjust.”
Porter was a little more blunt, saying, “They lined up and executed him.”
Many in the crowd were Hispanic, but those who spoke repeatedly reinforced that this was not a race issue, but a community issue.
Organizers told the Herald that people will be coming from across the eastern part of the state to continue protesting and marching. Another rally is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at city hall.
The hope of many in attendance Wednesday was that city and police officials will hold officers accountable for Zambrano-Montes’ death, they said.
“Justifiable is not going to be able to be used this time,” Hector Alamillo said.