SC

Hearing Set In Zachary Hammond Case

FEDERAL COURT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS OVER SUBPOENA …  The case of Zachary Hammond – the Upstate teenager shot and killed over a dime bag of marijuana – will head to federal court this week.  At issue?  Whether the Seneca, S.C. police department – whose undercover officer Mark Tiller shot and killed…

FEDERAL COURT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS OVER SUBPOENA … 

The case of Zachary Hammond – the Upstate teenager shot and killed over a dime bag of marijuana – will head to federal court this week.  At issue?  Whether the Seneca, S.C. police department – whose undercover officer Mark Tiller shot and killed Hammond during a botched drug bust – must release its communications with a public relations firm it hired to mitigate the fallout from the shooting.

This should be a no-brainer …

The police agency is a public body, meaning its communications (with anybody) ought to be subject to public view.  These communications are with a firm that received tax dollars, too.

Of course transparency hasn’t exactly been the strong suit of the local governments charged with handling this case …

S.C. tenth circuit solicitor Chrissy Adams – who declined to press charges against Tiller – belatedly released the incriminating dash-came video from the July 2015 shooting in October.

Why did she wait so long?

Because police apparently hadn’t done a good enough job smearing Hammond’s family – especially his grieving mother, Angie Hammond – and making the 19-year-old out to be a hardened criminal.

We’re not saying Hammond was an angel.  And it’s obvious he shouldn’t have tried to run from the police.  But Tiller’s attempt to play “Rambo” was totally out of line under the circumstances. More to the point, there is absolutely no scenario in which deadly force should have been used over a dime bag of marijuana.  In fact, had legislation pushed by S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts been passed prior to Hammond’s shooting – simple possession of such a small amount of pot would have been an offense on par with a traffic ticket.

This website has been consistent in its call for the full legalization of marijuana and other drugs for medicinal and recreational purposes.  How come?  Because it’s a liberty issue, first and foremost – but also because the “War on Drugs” has been a costly failure on every front.

Well over $1 trillion has been spent since this war was declared in 1971 … and countless lives have been snuffed out far too soon.  For no reason.

Enough is enough …

After all, don’t cops in South Carolina have real crime to fight?

UPDATE: U.S. District Judge Kevin McDonald has ordered the city of Seneca to provide him with “more details” regarding its rationale for refusing to release the documents pertaining to the Hammond case. 

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68 comments

Flip February 10, 2016 at 9:54 am

Needs to be in the news more. Thug cops are a danger to us all regardless of race of the victims. Cops defending thug cops are just as bad as the thug cops.

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stumpknocker February 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

they made a movie about a cop that bucked the cop culture, he got shot in the head for it, Serpico

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I stand with cops February 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm

#BLUELIVESMATTER #RESPECTCOPS

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Flip February 11, 2016 at 3:10 pm

#DisqusLivesMatter #RESPECTISEARNED

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nitrat February 10, 2016 at 11:06 am

Why is the city government/city administrator not telling their chief of police what to do to not throw away money and time on a losing case ?
Did the police chief hire the PR firm without city approval or is the city crazy enough to have gone to this extreme ?
City, county, state and federal governments pay for the buildings, cars, salaries and benefits for LE agencies. When are they going to start acting like they understand they are the bosses?

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

= more government corruption in S.C.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 12:22 pm

I wonder if using a fuzzy, smirking photo from his high school science class is supposed to make me feel better about the little stoner.

From all of the published reports:

…as officers pulled up to Hammond’s car with lights flashing, he accelerated to leave…

It’s a damn shame the kid is dead, but this is very simple. When a man with a badge and a gun tells you to stop – fricking STOP. Here, Chris Rock explains the whole thing to you in very simple and easy to understand terms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQLCF4Tiqg4

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me2 February 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

And if the kid doesn’t stop due to a misunderstanding, or he didn’t know who was pointing a gun at him because the officer never identified himself as police, or the kid panicked, what you’re saying is that it is OK for the police to shoot the kid? Please stop with the empty theoretical arguments. They have no application in this case. I would never look to Chris Rock as guidance.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Here – make up your own mind.

You can see the officer in uniform, hear the commands to “stop” being given. He was driving a marked patrol car with the lights flashing. The little wannabe thug was parked behind the Hardees to hide what he was doing – he knew what was up. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/oct/27/dashcam-footage-police-shooting-zachary-hammond-video

No theoretical argument involved, just the facts.

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me2 February 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm

You forgot the fact that the kid was shot unnecessarily. He was murdered. None of your arguments would justify that. You must be a cop, a city administrator, or a blog troll from the public relations firm.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Sorry to burst your bubble, I’m out of the above. I’m just a guy who thinks you ought to give the benefit of the doubt to the cop not the criminal. Particularly when the video shows the cops case to be true.

JD in SC February 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Weird… I thought Western law was designed to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens, not to government agents.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm

In this case, the policeman is the defendant.

me2 February 12, 2016 at 11:30 am

“Particularly when the video shows the cop’s case to be true.” WOW. You must be blind or you didn’t see the same video that the rest of the world saw. The ENTIRE justification for the shooting was that the cop felt like he was going to be run over. At NO time was the cop about to be run over except only slightly POSSIBLY when the cop danced to the front door post in the way of the car and then danced out. He had enough time to get out of the way…but not enough time NOT to shoot??? Give it up. The justification for the shooting doesn’t exist. No need to shoot. That is the ultimate lesson here. The video leaves no doubt. You need to step up your rationale thinking. The cop committed murder. No excuse.

The Colonel (R) February 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

Start at 18-19 second in and watch through to 22 second. the cop puts his hand on the fender and is physically pushed back by the car.

All of this is subject to interpretation and I don’t think “being a dumbass” deserves a death sentence but let’s put the blame for Hammond’s death where it belongs – firmly in Mr. Hammond’s lap.

SLED, the FBI and the Solicitor agree with me (that’s not always necessarily a good thing).

me2 February 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Reaching out to touch the car? You need to watch more closely. The DOJ/FBI has not given their opinion. Do you have access to SLED’s recommendation? Please share it with us. You are uninformed. You still are justifying the end action…murder.

The Colonel (R) February 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Let’s agree to disagree about the video – I’ve been in a similar situation and know what can happen.

As for the FBI/DOJ Civil case. White drug dealer shot by a white cop during a lawful stop. Nothing there. You’ll never hear another thing about it

SLED completed its investigation on 31 August 2015 recommended no charges and turned it over to the solicitor who declined to press charges The AG has reviewed the case and declined to intervene.

Mom February 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm

You might be shocked to know just how many stupid, impulsive 19 year old stoners have tried to outrun the PoPo. Still, there was absolutely NO REASON TO SHOOT HIM.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 12:55 pm Reply
Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Zach Hammond was unarmed.

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm

A high speed police chase through a Hardees parking lot over a bag of weed. REALLY?

CNSYD February 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm

So the police had ESP and KNEW that Hammond (and his passenger) were unarmed and had only “a bag of weed”? Attempting to leave the scene was also an indicator, correct?

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:21 pm

The police somehow had knowledge that a drug deal involving weed was going down in the Hardee’s parking lot. Btw, that’s not exactly a hard thing to discover. All the investigator needs is a twitter account to find out when and where weed is being sold. This is not a scene from Breaking Bad involving the Mexican cartel.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 7:21 pm

It was a sting operation involving cocaine you doofus.

Josh Mocellin February 10, 2016 at 9:53 pm

It actually just randomly happened because the girl passenger accidentally texted a cop instead of the person she was (supposed to be) selling marijuana to, They charged her with possesion of a misdemeanor amount marijuana. The cocaine was in Hammond’s system after an autopsy.
Did you even watch the dash cam video? The cop tried to pull something off you’d see on NCIS LA, or Person of Interest. Ridiculous.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 10:13 pm

So we can add dumbass to the list of charges against Hammond, dialed the wrong number while trying to arrange a drug deal…

Hammond and his girlfriend Tori Morton were dealing, not buying. She was selling coke. http://m.wyff4.com/news/no-charges-for-seneca-officer-who-killed-teen-solicitor-says/36059966

Hammond had a history and had bragged about not stopping if he were pulled over. He was high when this incident occurred and he’d been arrested on multiple other drug charges on several occasions. http://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article43646661.html

Josh Mocellin February 11, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Except it wasn’t him that put in the wrong number, not saying what he did wasn’t dumb. It was dumb, but he deserved his day in court. Not for a cop to be to an action star and kill him. Did you ever watch the dash cam footage? It’s not right.

The Colonel (R) February 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Dude, I’ve broken the dash cam down second by second in other posts here. No one thinks you should get the death penalty for being a dumbass drug dealer, or for even having a dumbass girlfriend assistant drug dealer (Except Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Cuba – and oh the United States in USC Kennedy v. LA). The cop was doing his job as he saw it. By all accounts, he was a good cop. All that had to happen for this to have ended as a “penny ante drug bust” was for Hammond to – wait for it – stop the car.

Josh Mocellin March 7, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I don’t think so. I think police should focus on real crime.

The Colonel (R) March 7, 2016 at 9:17 pm

Are you still here? Go to bed, nothing to see here now.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 10:13 pm

So we can add dumbass to the list of charges against Hammond, dialed the wrong number while trying to arrange a drug deal…

Hammond and his girlfriend Tori Morton were dealing, not buying. She was selling coke. http://m.wyff4.com/news/no-charges-for-seneca-officer-who-killed-teen-solicitor-says/36059966

Hammond had a history and had bragged about not stopping if he were pulled over. He was high when this incident occurred and he’d been arrested on multiple other drug charges on several occasions. http://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article43646661.html

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Coke, not pot.

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Still, a shootout in a Hardee’s parking lot is not in order.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm
Yelsewh February 11, 2016 at 8:57 am

You’re clearly trolling. No one could be this stupid.

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The Colonel (R) February 11, 2016 at 9:38 am

Nope – totally serious.

The ensuing debate yesterday revealed a plethora of misinformation and just plain false assumptions about what happened to Mr. Hammond.

Ultimately, he created his own demise.
Do I think you should be shot for selling cocaine? No.
Do I think you should be shot for resisting arrest? Maybe with a taser.
Do I think nearly running a policeman over who was trying to lawfully affect you arrest should result in your death? No, but as Chris Rock points out – when they catch you they’re bringing you an ass whipping.

Now, does the totality of this case deserve death? No. However, had Mr. Hammond simply heeded to multiple lawful commands to stop by a uniformed and gun wielding policeman driving a marked car with the lights flashing (or simply not been dealing drugs), NONE of this would have happened.

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Yelsewh February 11, 2016 at 8:25 pm

You must’ve watched a different video than I did. The officer was never in danger.

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The Colonel (R) February 11, 2016 at 8:31 pm

You’re interpreting what you see by the outcome you desire. Watch the video beginning at about 18 seconds in, watch the officer place his hand on the fender and be pushed back by the car as Hammond attempt to flee. Again, I’m not saying Hammond deserves to die for being a dumbass – but the fact remains that all he had to do to defuse this situation was comply with the lawful order of a uniformed police officer driving a police car and carrying a gun.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Hey folks before you start waxing poetically about this case. Here are the facts:

This is a video of the incident: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/oct/27/dashcam-footage-police-shooting-zachary-hammond-video

The deceased took a girl out for ice cream and she set up a drug buy

The deceased went along with the deal and hid behind the local Hardees to consummate the deal (from multiple police and news reports)

The deceased was approached and blocked in by a police car with the lights flashing at 12-13 seconds into the video

A uniform officer approached the car who draws his weapon only after the deceased attempted to back out and flee (you can see the final phase of the weapon being drawn at about 17-18 seconds into the attached video)

Despite numerous lawful orders from a uniformed policeman, the deceased, now a flee felon, continues to try to drive off – you can hear the command beginning at about 18 seconds.

The now fleeing felon very nearly strikes the officer, who is in uniform and holding a pistol. The officer is forced to push off the vehicle (at about 20 seconds) to avoid being hit by the car)

The officer continues to yell stop throughout the incident and fires only as the car is about to escape. Was it the right decision – I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Could an extra car blocking the parking lot have ended this peaceably? I wasn’t there. would I have shot? probably not but there were a whole series of things I would have done differently reviewing the video and reports from the relative comfort of my office.

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:15 pm

The reason the “deceased” very nearly ran over the officer is bc the officer got out of his car and tried to block the “deceased” person’s car with his body. The “deceased”, in fact did not display good judgment. Did you always display good judgment when you were 19?

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:18 pm

No, but I never smoked dope and I always stopped when a man with a police car with the lights flashing, a gun, in a uniform with a badge on it told me to.

Argue any way you want – Had the kid simply complied with the lawful order of the police he’d be alive today and probably would have had the case plead down to nothing.

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Sounds like you were an exceptionally well behaved 19 year old. I am here to tell you the a large percentage of 19 year olds would be stupid enough to try to outrun the PoPo for a bag of weed.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Nope, I flipped a car bumper to bumper when I was 19. I’ve done all kinds of stupid stuff, just had the sense God gave me (and that my parents reinforced) to stop when I was told to.

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm

So you were once a stupid 19 year old who managed to become a respectable, contributing member of society. Zach Hammond was a stupid 19 year who did not have that opportunity.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Some quote from Darwin seems to want to fit in here…

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Clever joke. But it’s not law enforcement’s job to exterminate the losers in society.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Most of them seem to do a pretty good job of it themselves. You’ve heard about “suicide by cop”, I guess this case could be “natural selection by cop”?

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Okeydokey, thanks for the debate. Your a good guy, Mr. Colonel but I have to go now. Much love to the fam! Tootles

briankeithohara February 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I am opposed to the killing unarmed children, like Zach and Deven Guilford executed over a phony traffic stop. Deven flashed his lights at a car driving with his brights on. A cop trolling for tickets. Before it was over the 17-year-old boy had the crap beaten out of him, was tasered and then shot 7 times, with his brains being blown out. All because his parents taught the boy to be polite and be safe on the road. The police took Zach’s dead body out of his car, slammed him on the ground viciously. All the officers are seen laughing over the death of a child, then one officer holds the dead boy’s hand up and the other hysterically laughing police came one by one to hi-five the dead child. In Zach’s case, the boy was not driving at him, so was in no danger. You are not allowed to use deadly force against a child trying to flee a misdemeanor. But if right and wrong don’t matter don’t matter you can murder children any time you want.

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm

It was cocaine, not pot.

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Still we cannot have law enforcement shooting people because they try to out run the cops.

idcydm February 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm

When I was 17 there were 6 of us in a car that was stopped by an unmarked police car. We all did what the police told us to do. The driver was hauled off and the car impounded. The rest of us had to find our own way home. I was taught to obey law enforcement, many in today’s society are not taught much of anything.

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Agree. Still the officer made an error in judgment to kill the boy

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idcydm February 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Maybe so, maybe not but don’t down play the 19 year old’s bad judgement. There are many 19 year old’s that have died in their service to this country, those 19 year old’s have my respect.

Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I’m not saying Zach Hammond was a good boy. Maybe he was a thug headed for a lifetime of prison. I just know that the police are not supposed to shoot unless his or others lives are in immanent danger

The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm

The police officer felt his was. I would hope that I wouldn’t have shot the kid but that’s 20/20 hindsight.

idcydm February 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

“I just know…”, is that anything like…”Since the blue collar types are not educated…”

9" February 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Ice cream is a gateway drug;)

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shifty henry February 11, 2016 at 9:29 am

— now that’s funny!

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm

And btw, this does not make the case for legalization of weed. That rational would also make the case for going 80mph in a 70 mph zone. Legalizing weed would simply lead to more addiction and taking ambition from otherwise competent young pp.

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JD in SC February 10, 2016 at 4:11 pm

[citation needed]
The experience in Colorado, Portugal, and any other Western state that has tried this seems to belie your speculation re: addiction rates.

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Mom February 10, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Give it time. The addition rates will increase.

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The Colonel (R) February 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Couple of other factors for your consideration:
This was not Hammond’s first run in over drugs with the police.

It was cocaine they were trying to buy, not pot.

Hammond had joked about running away from the police if stopped again “…since it would be his third strike…”.

http://www.wyff4.com/news/no-charges-for-seneca-officer-who-killed-teen-solicitor-says/36059966

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Rocky Verdad February 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Can we get an update on Oregon standoff?

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texaswillyandthehandjive February 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

“The police agency is a public body,
meaning its communications (with anybody) ought to be subject to public
view. These communications are with a firm that received tax dollars,
too.”
Read more at https://www.fitsnews.com/2016/02/10/hearing-set-in-zachary-hammond-case/#gKwy2bP5g0xGSzhM.99

obviously never been to NorthAugusta if you believe this statement.

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Wayne Sims February 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Zachary Hammond was murdered on camera and in daylight by a city policeman who fired his gun in anger. He’d be on trial for murder now if the solicitor of the 10th Judicial Circuit in South Carolina hadn’t told a number of brazen lies about what the dashcam video shows, or if the SC Atty General had had the moral courage to press charges.

If Mark Tiller had wanted to ARREST Hammond, then the arrest could have been made later, safely, at the Hammonds’ house. If Mark Tiller had wanted to prevent the car from leaving the scene, then he could have shot the tires instead of the driver.

Never forget the angry death-threat that Mark Tiller screamed at Zachary Hammond as he was pulling the trigger on his policeman’s gun. The words were “I’m gonna shoot your f***ing a**!” That declaration is the clearest window we have into Lt. Tiller’s state of mind as he committed his deeds. Never forget it. Never let anyone else get away with omitting it from a narrative. Never let anyone trivialize its significance. It’s important, and no honest summary of the shooting will leave it out.

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