Mexico condemns fatal shooting by police in Washington state

By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - The Mexican government is condemning this week's fatal shooting by police in Washington state of a Mexico-born man who had thrown rocks at officers in an incident captured on video. Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry called for an exhaustive investigation of the killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in the city of Pasco, about 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Seattle, and said it is offering legal advice to relatives of the victim, who was originally from Michoacan state. The shooting comes amid heightened tension over policing in the United States after incidents including the killings of two unarmed black men last year by white police officers in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson and New York City. "Mexico's government strongly condemns incidents in which lethal force is used disproportionately," the ministry said in a statement late on Thursday. "These unfortunate events damage communities and they erode confidence in the authorities." Speaking in Mexico City on Friday afternoon, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reiterated the condemnation of the disproportionate use of lethal force and said he had instructed officials to support Zambrano-Montes' family. "I've told them to pay close attention to the investigation into this indignant and lamentable event," he said. Mexico's government says officials have also written to the police chief in Pasco, Bob Metzger, asking about disciplinary measures that could be taken against the policemen. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as per department policy, Metzger said in a statement on Wednesday. Two were hit by rocks and were treated at the scene. The police department said three officers arrived on Tuesday afternoon at a grocery store parking lot where Zambrano-Montes threw rocks at them. Metzger said they first used a stun gun to try to incapacitate the suspect after he would not obey commands to surrender, then opened fire and killed him. In a 22-second video filmed by a motorist and posted online, Zambrano-Montes is seen running away from the officers before he was killed. The man appears to throw a rock, several shots are heard, and he then crosses the street. He turns to face the officers, raising his right arm as if to throw another object, when they open fire again, according to the video. Police have said they cannot confirm the authenticity of any videos of the incident, and say the Tri-City Special Investigation Unit will conduct a full probe into the shooting. (Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Additional reporting by Tomas Sarmiento and Elinor Comlay in Mexico City)