The inquest proposed by Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel into the shooting death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes by Pasco police looks to me like a kangaroo court setup.
As reported in the Herald, the inquest would allow a jury of six members to make two recommendations: the cause of death in the case and whether the shooting was justified.
The cause of death is obvious. The victim was shot five to seven times! And the person responsible for determining the official cause of death is the coroner himself.
Much more troubling is having an inquest jury make a recommendation as to whether the shooting by police was justified. That amounts to a pre-trial trial, which would serve to prejudice any pool of jurors impaneled for a real trial in the event that charges are filed against the officers involved.
I hardly think an inquest jury would study in detail the thousands of pages in the report of the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, nor would it be competent to do so. That job, which may take all summer, is the responsibility of Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant and his deputies, who do have the competence required.
The only thing an inquest jury could do in this case is muddy the waters.