Mar 2, 2015
On February 10, a 35-year-old Mexican farm worker, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, was shot by the police in the city of Pasco, Washington. What happened was captured on a cell phone video. An autopsy showed he was shot seven times, twice from behind. Zambrano-Montes was executed because he had thrown rocks at cops, who chased him before killing him. He had no knife or gun.
The Mexican community carried out a number of protests after seeing the video. One drew 500 people, and another blocked the bridge over the Columbia River. Many motorists yelled or honked their horns in support.
The city of Pasco has 68,000 residents and is part of a tri-city area of 250,000. Pasco is 56% Hispanic and is a farm worker center, employing Mexican labor at very low wages and in very poor living conditions. The capitalist farmers want this labor supply – especially those without papers, who they can exploit especially hard.
The violence of the Pasco cops is used to keep the farm worker population in its place. Conditions in Pasco are like a prison labor camp. This was the fourth killing by the police since July.
Signs at the protests said, “Stop Police Brutality. It was just a rock.” The capturing of the killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes on a cell phone and spreading it online brought out in the open the ordinary police brutality in Pasco and proved a trigger for the protests. If they continue and deepen, they are the way to push back the police.