HOPEFULLY THE MESSAGE IS GETTING THROUGH …
Last August this website ran an article entitled “White Kid Dead: Zero Outrage” in reference to the July 2015 shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond by an undercover Seneca, S.C. police officer.
Hammond was shot and killed during a botched drug bust – gunned down over what amounted to a dime bag of marijuana. The Hammond story drew considerable media attention – which turned to outrage when the local solicitor, Chrissy Adams, declined to prosecute the officer who fired the shots, lieutenant Mark Tiller.
Adams decided not to seek reelection in the aftermath of her determination in the Hammond case – probably the right call given what the dash cam video of the shooting showed.
Hammond’s family recently settled a civil case against the town of Seneca – which tried to sweep the whole thing under the rug (including spending taxpayer money on an Upstate public relations firm).
The case isn’t over, though. There is an ongoing federal investigation into the shooting (as there should be).
This week, the Hammonds’ case was featured on Dr. Phil – the national talk show hosted by Dr. Phillip C. McGraw.
Here’s the segment, which stars Hammond’s mother – Angie Hammond.
(Click to play)
“My husband and I went through hell and back to find the truth,” Hammond told McGraw.
They did … and thank God they did. Otherwise, Hammond’s death would have turned into yet another example of South Carolina “justice.”
Assisting the Hammonds in their effort? A report prepared by former S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigator James Flowers – who is currently a candidate for sheriff of Richland County, S.C.
“Flowers’ report moved the attorneys for the Seneca Police Department”, Hammond family attorney Eric Bland said. “The attorneys were worried after reviewing (it).”
They should have been …
We’re glad Hammond’s family has been compensated for their loss. And we continue to be incredibly impressed by Angie Hammond – whom police and prosecutors tried to demonize in the aftermath of this tragedy (part of a broader effort on the part of the authorities involved to evade accountability for what happened).
But the larger issue remains. People are still getting shot over minuscule amounts of marijuana.
“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 fall in relation to this case.
S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts – the only ex-cop currently serving in the S.C. General Assembly – has proposed legislation that would decriminalize the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Pitts’ bill wouldn’t make marijuana legal, it would simply classify simple possession of it as offense on par with a traffic ticket.
That’s a sensible reform. So is the medical cannabis bill being pushed by S.C. Senator Tom Davis and U.S. congressional candidate Jenny Horne.