The South Carolina cop who shot and killed Zachary Hammond, claiming the 19-year-old man was trying to run him over, making him fear for his life, will not face criminal charges, a judge announced Tuesday.
But the dashcam video, released today, shows Seneca Police Lieutenant Mark Tiller could have easily avoided killing Hammond.
After all, Hammond’s only alleged crime was that he was driving a female friend to a Hardee’s parking lot to sell marijuana to a man who turned out to be an undercover cop.
The cops already had woman’s phone number, which they used to set up the deal. And they obviously had Hammond’s license plate.
And there was no indication the two were going to commit any violent crimes, so police could have easily obtained arrest warrants for the two.
Instead, Tiller felt the need to rush up to the car and fire several times as Hammond was trying to drive away.
“After careful consideration of the facts of the case, a thorough review of the state investigation, and an extensive review of all applicable law, I have determined that no criminal charges should be filed against Lt. Mark Tiller at the state level,” Adams said in a statement.
The incident took place July 26, 2015 when Hammond pulled his 2002 silver Honda Civic into the Hardee’s parking lot and parked his car.
Sitting in the passenger seat, eating an ice cream cone, was his friend, 23-year-old Toni Morton, who police claim was planning to sell them marijuana.
But it obviously was not a large amount as she was later charged with misdemeanor simple possession, meaning she was carrying less than ten grams of pot.
Tiller pulled into the parking lot and parked behind Hammond, stepping out with his gun drawn.
Hammond then placed the car in reverse and maneuvered it left, trying to remain as far away as possible from the armed police officer.
But Tiller ran up to the car and placed his hand on the door with his gun drawn, firing twice.
“I’ll blow your fucking head off,” were the last words Hammond heard from Tiller, according to the lawsuit.
Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said 19-year-old Zachary Hammond of Seneca was killed in the shooting.
“The preliminary investigation indicates (Hammond) was attempting to evade a police stop in the parking lot of this business,” Addis said. “A Seneca Police officer felt threatened by (Hammond) who was driving his car toward the officer attempting to make the stop.”
The family’s lawsuit also states that Tiller then pulled Hammond’s lifeless 121-pound body out of the car and left it laying in the parking lot for 90 minutes, which was when another officer walked up, lifted up Hammond’s hand and high-fived it.
That officer, Antony Moon, has since resigned.
Hammond’s autopsy determined the teen was shot from the side, back to front, and that is evident in the video.