Pasco Police Officer Ryan Flanagan Has a History of Excessive Force Against Hispanics

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In 2009, a 30-year old Hispanic woman, Maria Davila-Marquez was driving her vehicle in Pasco, Washington.  Police officers in the area were looking for a teenaged Hispanic girl who was creating a disturbance.  Officer Ryan Flanagan and officer Zachary Fairley saw Davila and stopped her, even though she was about twice the age of the teenager they were really looking for.  Davila couldn’t speak English very well and neither officer could speak Spanish.  So the officers handcuffed her, slammed her against the car hood, and held her there until she received second-degree burns from the engine heat, and searched her even though department policy required them to call a female officer to do that.

Although Davila had requested an interpreter, the officers refused to call one.  Then the complainant showed up and said that Davila was not the teenager (duh), so the officers charged her with interfering with public duties.  So Davila sued the officers, the chief, and the city.  She wasn’t able to show a pattern or policy of misconduct, so the court dismissed with prejudice the case against the chief and the city, see Davila-Marquez v. City of Pasco, No. CV-12-5059-LRS, 2103 WL 1136658 (E.D. Wash. Mar. 18, 2013).  The case against the officers remained, however and rather than go to trial, the city settled for $100,000.

In an article at the time, Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said that although Davila did not meet the description of a teenager, the officers erred on the side of inclusion when they arrested her.  Crutchfield is lucky that Pasco had already settled.  In the United States, we don’t err on the side of inclusion when arresting someone.  We either have probable cause, or we don’t.

AS TO THE CURRENT INVESTIGATION:

This may also get more interesting.  Coroner Dan Blasdel is considering calling an inquest to make the determination on the shooting.  This isn’t used often, but the evidence would be put in front of a six-member jury, who would decide the issue.  Note that in Washington, the inquest does not determine culpability for the death.

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“He (didn’t) comply with their commands” so we killed him, said Police Captain Ken Roske UPDATE 3

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A yet unidentified man who had been throwing rocks at cars was shot and killed by Pasco, Washington police on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2015.

The man can be seen throwing a rock at officers at approximately 0:05 of the video, and then turning to run.  At least one officer shoots at him at that time, and the first gunshots appear to be justified.  A thrown rock can be deadly force,* and the brain can transmitted the order to shoot before it realizes that the threat is turning and fleeing.  The man runs across the street with his hands up, turns down a sidewalk, and then turns as if to surrender with his hands still up, in front of him, empty, and in plain view.

Pasco Police Captain Ken Roske says the officers fired after the man refused to listen to their commands.  This is the fourth fatal shooting by police in the last six months.  So far, all officers have been cleared, and based on the comments by Roske, these three officers will also be cleared.  Non-police witnesses said that the man was merely trying to get away.

I don’t see how this shooting is justifiable, although it is clear, in my opinion, that Roske believes that if police give commands to someone and they don’t obey, then it is perfectly fine for the police officers to then shoot that person.  That also seems to be the way that patrons of PoliceOne are looking at the matter.

This appears, to me, to be a straight up execution.  For not obeying police commands.

*Ask Goliath or any of the multitude of people stoned to death in the modern day Middle East.

UPDATE:

1.  Capt. Roske, in addition to being the police manager over Public Information and Administration, is also the local FOP President and has been for over 10 years.  This is only relevant because, although it is not clear in this case, Police Administration is normally where the Internal Affairs function is located.  I would hope that it is not the case here, since having the police supervisor over IA also be the local union president would sure appear to be a conflict of interest.

2.  Involved officers are Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright, and Adrian Alaniz.  The victim is Antonio Zambrano-Montes.  Chief Bob Metzger did not take any questions at the under four minute press briefing.  He reiterated the statement that Zambrano did not follow commands, and that officers were forced to kill him because of the “threats” to the public.  In other words, move on, nothing to see here.

3.  Well, the smear the dead guy campaign has begun.  Apparently Zambrano fought with police over a year ago.  Of course that is relevant to the shooting, because at that time he tried to throw a “rocking chair” at one officer, and did in fact throw a “male box” [sic]† at the officers.  Since all police officers instantly know of prior bad behavior, the officers who shoot Zambrano must have known this.  Perhaps they were afraid that he would find a female box to throw next.

†Presumably a mail box.

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