Zambrano Inquest Won’t Happen, County Refuses to Pay For It
Thursday, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdell announced the Coroner's Inquest planned for later this month at TRAC in Pasco, which would look into the fatal shooting of Antonio Zambrano year ago this month, has been called off. The county told Blasdell they won't pay for it.
Blasdell received a letter January 29th from County Commissioners that basically said because he didn't include it in his proposed budget, they won't pay for it.
Blasdell had begun to pursue the idea of a jury inquest into the fatal shooting of Zambrano clear back in last August, but ran into roadblocks due to scheduling, and facility availability.
Zambrano was fatally shot after throwing rocks at passers-by, cars and police near the corner of 10th and Lewis in Pasco. The officers involved were cleared after the Special Investigations Unit looked into the situation. Hispanic groups called for the inquest, and the event garnered national attention. Zambrano was found to be high on meth during the incident.
The inquest is a non-legally binding jury trial-like event in which both sides present all the facts of the incident in question. Then, recommendations are passed on by the jury to the prosecutor, who can decide if any charges or action are warranted.
Commissioners told Blasdell in the letter:
“You spoke openly in 2015 about the potential for an inquest, and therefore should have submitted a budget request to fund such an activity,
Had you submitted a formal budget request for an inquest, or should you seek funding under an alternative process, we will be obliged to consider such a request against the statutory purposes for an inquest.... (We) would indeed be challenged to justify the expenditure of taxpayer funds for an inquest under the present circumstances."