The Police Killing of Zachary Hammond

ONCE AGAIN: Murdering Cop Walks Free

November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Zachary Hammond
Zachary Hammond
(Photo: Justice for Zachary Hammond Facebook page)

On July 26, 2015, Mark Tiller, a Seneca, South Carolina, cop, shot and killed Zachary Hammond, an unarmed white 19-year-old. Police say they had intended to arrest a woman who was in a car with Hammond for dealing marijuana. When Tiller approached the parked car, Hammond tried to drive away. Tiller, with his gun drawn, shouted, “Hands up!” and, “I’m going to shoot your ass.” Then Tiller fired into the driver’s-side window, hitting Hammond at near point-blank range. An autopsy showed Hammond was shot twice in the back.

On October 27, Solicitor (Prosecutor) Chrissy Adams announced that no charges would be brought against Tiller.

Tiller’s claim that he feared he was going to be run over was enough in the eyes of the authorities to justify the murder—even though the video of the incident, which thousands of people have seen, shows Tiller clearly standing to the side of Hammond’s car, not in the path of the car.

The statement issued by the Hammond family in response to the prosecutor’s decision said: “Tiller, who never identified himself as a police officer or showed his badge, dispensed his on-the-spot justice for a crime that had not even been committed. Quite simply, Tiller decided that he was going to be the judge, jury and executioner for Zachary’s decision to flee the scene.”

Adams offered a lengthy explanation for why no charges are going to be brought against Tiller. After saying the video “is troublesome,” she said that “the evidence and investigation corroborates and supports Tiller’s belief that he was going to be run over” and that it was necessary to use deadly force.

And what is this evidence?

Adams admits Tiller didn’t know anything about Hammond at the time that he shot him. But then she goes on to attack the character of Zachary Hammond in order to justify the murder: citing text messages, she claimed Hammond had been on a “destructive course” in his life, that he dealt drugs, had the word “Outlaw” tattooed on his arm, and had an “anti-authoritarian” attitude. Adams basically argues that because of all this, and if Hammond was high at the time, then he got what he deserved.

Eric Bland, attorney for Zachary Hammond’s family, said: “If we’re going to judge that his [Zachary’s] life isn’t worth protecting—[that] we’ll give a cop a free shot because he may be worth less than an honor roll student, that’s exactly what happens in rape cases. It’s disgusting. It’s not proper and the law doesn’t provide for that. The law provides that you judge the assailant. And, in this case, the only person that should be judged is Lt. Mark Tiller.”



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