CLIPS SHOWS 19-YEAR-OLD BEING GUNNED DOWN … OVER TEN GRAMS OF MARIJUANA
Months after the fact, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has finally released a dash cam video showing the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond by undercover Seneca, S.C. police officer Mark Tiller.
Hammond was shot and killed by Tiller during a hastily arranged drug bust … over ten grams of marijuana.
We’ll repeat that: This kid lost his life over ten grams of pot.
Anyway, here’s the clip …
(Click to play)
The video depicts Tiller rushing up to Hammond’s car with his weapon drawn. Hammond, who was unarmed, attempted to flee the scene – at which point Tiller opens fire.
We showed the clip to a veteran law enforcement agent and asked him if it was a “good shot” – i.e. police code for a justifiable use of deadly force – or a “bad shot,” which is obviously an incident in which the use of deadly force was unwarranted.
“There is a question of whether the officer created the deadly force situation,” the agent told us. “In other words, he may have been justified in using deadly force at the time it was used. However, the officer created the circumstances that justified the deadly force.”
Indeed … which is the problem.
“The moment that (Hammond) pulled away and the officer had his hand out toward the side view mirror, I could make the ‘good shot’ argument,” the agent continued, although he quickly added “I think the overall opinion may be bad for the cop.”
Of interest? Police officers are trained not to shoot into moving cars unless they are dealing with a dangerous criminal – and have been left with no other option.
“(The) cop probably shouldn’t have shot him,” our expert concluded, although he did say Hammond “shouldn’t have been slinging dope.”
Tiller created this “deadly force” situation by trying to go “Rambo” on this poor kid – over what amounts to a little more than a quarter bag of pot.
“Even if you subscribe to the anti-liberty view that recreational pot use should be outlawed, in what universe is entrapping a citizen over ten grams of weed a proper prioritization of law enforcement resources?” we wrote earlier today in addressing this case.
That’s the lesson here: This bust never should have gone down.
The Hammond dash cam video was released by SLED on the same day S.C. tenth circuit solicitor Chrissy Adams declined to press charges against Tiller. Adams has refused to release any additional information related to the incident because it is currently under review by federal authorities.
Stay tuned …