South Carolina Cop who Killed Zachary Hammond may be Federally Charged
A South Carolina cop who evaded state criminal charges for shooting and killing a teenager over marijuana might face federal charges, according to court documents.
Seneca Police Lieutenant Mark Tiller shot and killed Zachary Hammond last July in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant during a sting operation.
Tiller claimed he was in fear for his life because Hammond was trying to run him over with his car.
But Tiller’s own dash cam video shows the teen was putting the car in reverse when the cop ran up to it with his gun drawn yelling, “I’ll blow your fucking head off.”
Tiller then dragged the 19-year-old man’s body out of the car which was when another cop walked up, lifted up Hammond’s lifeless hand and high-fived it, according to a lawsuit filed by Hammond’s family.
The state announced in October that no criminal charges would be filed against Tiller, but the FBI then said it would open its own investigation.
On Thursday, Tiller’s attorney filed a motion asking to reschedule a video deposition scheduled for next week in regards to the civil suit, arguing that his client’s statements could leave him open to criminal prosecution.
According to WYFF:
On Thursday, Tiller’s attorney filed a motion Thursday asking that his video deposition in connection to a lawsuit filed by Hammond’s parents, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, be postponed for 90 days.
The motion says: “Due to the open and active criminal investigation, requiring Mr. Tiller’s participation in his deposition for this matter will force him to confront the troubling prospect of either waiving his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, or repeatedly invoking this privilege to the detriment of his interest in the instant litigation …
“Mr. Tiller faces the prospect of profound criminal exposure as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation. As a result, the active investigation profoundly and detrimentally impacts Mr. Tiller’s ability to participate in his upcoming deposition …
“The likelihood of a forthcoming indictment is more than mere speculation, as the federal investigation remains active with criminal investigative activity having occurred within the last 10 days.”
In other words, he would have to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during the deposition to avoid incriminating himself in the criminal investigation.
But in doing so, he also waves his right to defend himself in the civil suit.
U.S. District Court Judge Kevin F. McDonald denied the motion on Friday, rescheduling the deposition from March 23 to March 25 instead of the requested 90 days, according to the Greenville News.