Innocent teenager killed over false assumptions
from various sources – February 2016
submitted by – Falak Bibi
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
On 26 July 2015, Zachary Hammond a 19 year old teenager was shot by police officer Mark Tiller of Seneca Police in South Carolina. Police believed Zachary was driving the vehicle towards the officer and tried killing him.
However the court has cleared the officer despite it being obvious to many commentators that he was murdered.
As stated by prosecutors the young teenager was only driving away from a drug deal sting operation. The dashboard recording displayed Zachary was shot from the side as he passed. Despite the officer accepting that he had killed Zachary, no further actions were taken and he did not face any criminal charges.
Further a video recorded illustrated Zachary reversing away from the officer vehicle in which the officer made his first order in stopping the young boy. He then drove around the officer resulting in him opening fire.
However other actions could have been taken in stopping the innocent teen, opening fire at someone for such an action was not necessary and could have been handled in a better manner.
Chrissy Adams a solicitor present said “while the video was troublesome” and “raised questions”, it was supported by the South Carolina Law enforcement Division (Sled) that “deadly force was justified” due to him stating he was about to get run over and Zachary did not comply with orders set. Likewise Zachary’s actions could also be justified as he drove from the scene to protect himself and his girlfriend, but also to not get in to trouble.
Though a letter enclosed highlighted a female passenger who was present in the car, Tori Morton had unintentionally sent a text from Zachary’s phone to a state trooper. However due to one digit being different, police further decided to set up a meeting to buy marijuana and cocaine in a parking restaurant. After Zachary and Tori arrived in a Honda Civic and parked next to an undercover police officer.
Tori sent her last text, which stated, “I think I’m beside u lol”. It is clearly illustrated the actions of the police are unacceptable in planning upon a meeting and having made false allegations upon the innocent teenager.
The camera footage revealed that the officer, Mark was radioed by the undercover officer and raced into the parking area to try and block Zachary’s vehicle with his own. However Zachary reversed the car and attempted to drive away when Mark decided to get out and stand on the driver’s side of Zachary’s vehicles.
He further went on to ordering him to stop and put his hands up. But Zachary did not obey these orders and instead drove away which resulted in Mark having to shoot him not once but twice. As a result the dashboard camera heard Mark saying “He tried to hit me”, but other force could have been applied in order to stop him.
A statement was subsequently released. Marks lawyer John Mussetto stated “Mr Hammond rapidly reversed his vehicle towards Lt Tiller’s patrol vehicle”. He then “rapidly accelerated in the direction of Lt Tiller, forcing the lieutenant to push off of Mr Hammond’s car to keep from being struck and run over.” Further footage revealed Zachary had started reversing before the first order was made. He drove forward and around Mark who was facing Zachary’s driver side window and opened fire.
John further went on to state and justifies the actions taken by the officer by stating “in order to stop the continuing threat to himself and the general public” he shot the teenager. They were further questioned upon whether the video footage opposed any earlier accounts of what happened, but John did not respond.
As a result it was ruled on Tuesday Zachary had attempted to flee the arrest and the officer was forced into make the decision and action he took. And attempt to add retrospective justification for the officer’s decision they detailed Zachary had recently had a tattoo with the word “outlaw” on his arm and therefore he had been drug dealing. They further illustrated “he had no intention of stopping for law enforcement” after looking at his text message history.
Dashcam video release shows cop murder Zachary Hammond
27 October 2015