PRESSURE ESCALATING IN UPSTATE POLICE SHOOTING
S.C. Senator Tom Davis – who has previously pushed for common sense reform of the Palmetto State’s marijuana laws – is now standing up for an Upstate teenager gunned down by a police officer over ten grams of marijuana.
Davis is railing against a dash cam video depicting the final moments of Zachary Hammond – a 19-year-old Seneca, S.C. resident who was shot and killed by an undercover town police officer this summer during a botched drug bust.
Remember that story? Yeah. We expressed our outrage early on … at the shooting itself, at the totally anti-transparent response from all levels of government and of course at the broader lunacy of America’s failed “War on Drugs.”
Anyway, video of this shooting was belatedly released by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) last week – prompting Davis to address the situation.
“The more I watch this video of ??Zachary Hammond? getting shot and killed, the angrier I get,” Davis wrote on his Facebook page. “In South Carolina, the shooting of a person by a law enforcement officer is justified if the officer reasonably believed he was in imminent danger of sustaining bodily harm and if there was no other means of avoiding that danger. How can anyone watching this video conclude this killing was legally justified? I’ve asked several of my law enforcement friends to give me their opinion, and to a person they’ve said it was ‘a bad shooting’ and that the local prosecutor’s decision not to charge the police officer was wrong.”
“And all of this in a sting to bust a teenager for possessing ten grams of pot,” Davis added.
Indeed … which is the real issue here.
“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 last week in addressing this case.
Davis isn’t the only lawmaker weighing in on the Hammond controversy. S.C. Rep. Todd Rutherford of Columbia, S.C. held a press conference with Hammond’s family in Greenville, S.C. this week – calling for tougher laws against the use of excessive force by police officers.
Rutherford also called on S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson to pursue charges against the officer – Mark Tiller – after S.C. tenth circuit solicitor Chrissy Adams declined to press charges against him. Wilson could take the case if he wants to given his status as the state’s top prosecutor, although attorneys general in the past have historically deferred to local prosecutors on such decisions.
Whatever Wilson decides to do, federal investigators are also probing the incident – and a source familiar with that investigation told us there was a “very good chance” charges could be filed against Tiller.