Drug War

Shooting of Unarmed 19-Year-Old Highlights the Drug War's Depravity

A sting involving 10 grams of marijuana leads to a senseless death.

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Hammond family

Last Friday the Seneca, South Carolina, police department identified Lt. Mark Tiller as the officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Zachary Hammond in a Hardee's parking lot on July 26. Hammond, who was unarmed, was on his first date with 23-year-old Tori Morton, who was eating an ice cream cone in the front passenger seat of his car at the moment of the shooting. Morton was later charged with possessing 10 grams of marijuana. According to The New York Times, police had targeted her as part of "a sting operation." The Washington Post says "undercover agents set up the drug buy."

Tiller claims he fired two shots in self-defense through the driver's side window because Hammond was trying to run him down. But an autopsy commissioned by Hammond's family found that one bullet entered his left shoulder from behind while the other entered his chest from the side—wounds that the family's lawyer, Eric Bland, says are inconsistent with Tiller's story, which he calls "ridiculous" and "offensive." Police say they have dashcam video of the encounter, which might help clarify the facts, but they have not released it yet.

Bland complains that the shooting of Hammond, who was white, has not received the same sort of national attention as incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police. "It's sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen," Bland told The Washington Post last week. "The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting."

Bland may have a point, but to me the main lesson to be learned from this utterly senseless incident has to do with the depravity of the war on drugs. Even if we assume that Tiller is telling the truth and that he reasonably believed lethal force was necessary to avoid death or serious injury, this entire situation was created by the cops. Hammond and Morton were minding their own business when Tiller initiated the use of force because of a pending transaction involving a third of an ounce of marijuana, a drug that is legal for medical or recreational use in 23 states. Furthermore, it was the police who arranged the transaction to begin with, in an attempt to catch Morton doing something that shouldn't be treated as a crime because it violates no one's rights. That's what a drug sting is: a trumped-up version of a fake crime.

Whether or not the shooting is deemed to be legally justified, it is outrageous that a young man is dead for such a stupid reason. Maybe this incident will wake up more Americans to the reality of the war on drugs, which uses violence to stop people from getting high and therefore constantly risks outcomes like this. Or maybe not. Here is how one Hardee's customer reacted to the shooting: "We're so thankful here in Oconee County that our police departments and sheriffs and things like that, that they're on top of the drug problems and trying to eliminate all drugs and everything."

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  1. Bland complains that the shooting of Hammond, who was white, has not received the same sort of national attention as incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police.

    #BlackLivesMatter, you racist sonovabitch!

  2. The customer quoted at the end of the article, needs a date with a woodchipper.

    1. Yet another “drug-related death.” Proof that they’re dangerous — and that we need more cops in the drug war.

    2. Unfortunately, that’s an incredibly common attitude around here.

    3. Trying to eliminate drugs and everything”. Well, they got a start toward eliminating “everything”, Damnitall.

    4. Feet first.

      1. After a mega-dose of LSD.

    5. Maybe this commenter, too:
      Agent P Jim Speed ? 14 days ago

      Agreed! i’m glad that fool was wasted.

      Or maybe he meant he was glad the kid was high when murdered.

      1. That is extra depraved, considering “police had targeted her“.

    6. I would be thankful when sheriffs and things like that actually get around to successfully eliminating everything.

    7. Eh. The thing is, because drugs are currently illegal, it’s really not fun living in an area where the trade thrives (speaking from experience). Shocking as it may seem to many Reasonites, principled idealists just trying to make a living and go about their business are a distinct minority of purveyors in the current environment. Because of the current state of the law and the fact that most people see government as the only viable solution to any given problem, most people that live in an area like that just default to looking for their government white knight to ride in and “clean things up”. And the cops are all too happy to keep that narrative alive. So while they’re wrong about the solution, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to bust out the woodchippers on them either. I bet many could be swayed if they were at all aware of the possible alternatives (most people intuitively understand how alcohol prohibition made Al Capone into what he was, for example).

      1. Oh I rather imagine the customer didn’t use – none of his family had/does…he had DARE, watched COPs, and all he knows is the mugshots of the druggies are a bunch of skeeved out looking trash – so you are right – he probably sees scuzzy people in a run down area doing something he cannot relate to….so the cops are the thin blue line between him and the yuck.

        I lived this way and only started to see what was going on when I was an Assistant State’s Attorney – I didn’t do the drug courtroom, but the drug charges seemed to float along with every felony we had…I started to wonder what the heck was going on…still took a bit for me to see it to.

        You alcohol prohibition example might be the best one to get through to folks like that. Or cigarettes, if they live in an area where the taxes are blisteringly high and smuggling is prevalent.

      2. Fine I am good with more gentle euthanasia like when you put a rabid ferret to sleep.

      3. “most people intuitively understand how alcohol prohibition made Al Capone into what he was, for example”

        I’m not convinced most people understand much of anything.

    8. The customer quoted at the end of the article is as big a part of the problem as the psychopath who pulled the trigger – Only someone possessing somewhat less intellect than a french fry would spew the sort of undereducated baboon drool that came out of it’s noise hole.

  3. That story is missing all the facts surrounding the shooting. I guess the only thing the public should know is that a hero officer went home safely that night.

    Sting? Hardees drive-through? I’m getting the impression the cops were selling weed through the Hardees and arresting, or murdering, the buyers. If so, it would be perfectly reasonable for the Hardee’s patron to assume the cops were raiding the fast-food drug den and he was merely a bystander in harms’ way.

    1. im a hero cop and im here to say im a hero cop that’s what im here to say

  4. These sting operations are little different from a framing. They’re literally setting up the whole situation. The criminal does no more than go along.

    1. +300 terrorist incidents thwarted by the FBI…

  5. …this entire situation was created by the cops.

    Follow the money.

  6. “Oh those RACIST horrible PIGS!! HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO AN INNOCENT YOUNG UNARMED BLACK MAN?!?!?”

    *muttering*

    “What? He’s white?”

    “Carry on. Nothing to see here.”

    1. “””Spencer Schutte @spencerschutte
      #BlackLivesMatter is SO essential, but that doesn’t mean I won’t grieve for #ZacharyHammond any less. Black lives matter. Police must change”””

      People seem to feel they need to do this moral-limbo-dance just to say “this is fucked up and wrong”

    2. Obviously his white privilege ran out.

  7. “It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” Bland told The Washington Post last week. “The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”

    Hard to believe that Eric Bland – as accomplished and articulate as he is – is only one day old!!

    1. What if Zachary Hammond identified as black, like Rachel Dolezal?

      1. We’re all niggers now.

        1. Thanks for your contribution to the discourse.

          1. Tulpa sock, as I recall…

            1. I could not recall who was behind it.

  8. and they keep raising your taxes so big government can use your tax dollars pay for these attacks on citizens while sending your jobs to china?

  9. Who sells a third of an ounce? a 16th, 8th, quarter I get, but I’m too high to do conversions.

    1. Quantity inflation. A third is the new half.

  10. The statement also said that a white powdery substance “consistent with cocaine” was found on Hammond’s person by the coroner.

    Police also released a report written by a different officer, Bobby McClure, who arrived after the shooting had occurred.

    The report does not mention the recovery of cocaine on Hammond’s body.

    Hmm.

    1. Probably fell off the upper lip of one of the enforcers that handled him. They’re motivated in that state, this pleases your overlords.

    2. Reminiscent of the “just sprinkle crack on him” bit that Dave Chapelle did re: how police treat every black person they shoot

  11. OT: any of you mammals try my Loaded Landshark idea? The effect is well known in my species. I’m just collecting some data.

    1. Would that I could Doctor Field Marshal President for Life Lizard. Right now, no can do.

    2. I just googled that and a beer cocktail came up. Is that what you mean? If so, hell no. I do beer, and I do cocktails, but never shall the two be combined.

  12. “”We’re so thankful here in Oconee County that our police departments and sheriffs and things like that, that they’re on top of the drug problems and trying to eliminate all drugs and everything.””

    Holy mother of god. Sometimes I think it’s a worthy cause to try and advance the libretarian mindset to more people. And other times I think that most people really may be so stupid as to be a danger to themselves; the government really should help them go to the bathroom so they don’t wind up soiling their underwear.

    The level of stupid that takes really eclipses that which I can possibly imagine.

    1. Seatbelts for toilets?

      “Sir, I need to check your ass hole! Ass hole clear!”

  13. I suspect it was a “respect my authoritah” shooting. The cop was angry the kid blew past him when told to stop and lost his cool.

    The girl will probably have a lifetime of guilt over this. OTOH, the cop will have a lifetime of spank bank material, so there’s that.

    1. Well, the PTSD might kick in when he wants to take an all expense paid extended vacation for the rest of his life.

    2. I suspect it was a “respect my authoritah” shooting.

      Except for the very rare situations where an officer’s life is actually in danger, and those situations are extremely rare, that is always the reason.

  14. OT: The citizens of St. Louis passed a referendum that any public funding for a new stadium needs voter approval. A judge overturned that referendum on the grounds that it was too vague. I’m guessing he went to the unfrozen caveman school of law, where people to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent is some sort of crazy witchcraft.

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/l…..857ac.html

    1. I’m thinking it’s more the “Maybe I can get them to give my idiot son-in-law a job at last if I do them a favor” school.

  15. OT: The citizens of St. Louis passed a referendum that any public funding for a new stadium needs voter approval. A judge overturned that referendum on the grounds that it was too vague. I’m guessing he went to the unfrozen caveman school of law, where people to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent is some sort of crazy witchcraft.

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/l…..857ac.html

    1. On the other hand there were a whole bunch of tax increases and bond increases shot down in last weeks elections in the st louis area and some overwhelmingly so. That is a silver lining.

  16. Here is how one Hardee’s customer reacted to the shooting: “We’re so thankful here in Oconee County that our police departments and sheriffs and things like that, that they’re on top of the drug problems and trying to eliminate all drugs and everything.”

    #SayHisName, Sullum. It’s Ray Nix, and he’s a piece of shit who bears responsibility for this murder.

    1. Collaborators. Fuck these people.

      1. It would appear that under the circumstances he *had* to be upstanding.

    2. In the comment section of the article for which Jacob provided a link I found the following:

      Gamecock Gal Eric_the_Read

      “Escape, noncompliance, etc, = ability, opportunity, and jeopardy to put that officer’s life in danger. All three were present with what’s being described which makes this officer justifiable in his actions. Quite simply, if he didn’t want to be shot, he needed to stop the car and be a responsible citizen. He represented himself otherwise, and therefore allowed the officer to make the tough choices for him.”

      I should note, however, that there were a few more thoughtful comments from other people questioning or criticizing the shooting/murder, although not so many that I recommend reading through the comments that individuals like Eric the Read offered.

  17. Police say they have dashcam video of the encounter, which might help clarify the facts, but they have not released it yet

    , pending editing.

    1. Or “technical difficulties/losing”

      1. “The Chief told our analyst to go over it ‘with a fine tooth comb’, but unfortunately he heard that as ‘with a strong magnet’.”

        1. COMB THE DESERT

          1. I ain’t found sheet.

          2. + We’ve gone plaid!

        2. “The Chief told our analyst to go over it ‘with a fine tooth comb’, but unfortunately the comb scratched it up so badly that now it can’t be read.

          1. 😎 Better!

        3. Cue shocked faces when they find out in court that SSD drives don’t mind magnets. 😀

  18. Wake up America you’re dreaming…good luck Jacob, and btw, you’re the best at Reason. Keep up the good work. Someday I think you’ll get through to the rest of America. One down (moi) and 300 million to go.

  19. “It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen.”

    Oh, very well. #TeenLivesMatter

    1. Fuck them white boys

      1. Do you want to summon AgileCyborg? Because that is how you summon AgileCyborg…

        1. “Do you want to summon AgileCyborg?”

          Always:)

    1. Sequel to Ant Man?

    2. Indeed, Swiss. Especially since the photo proves the creature’s *body* is as big as a lorry.

    3. “Our canine detection teams can check the average lorry’s sleeper cab in less than two minutes compared to a pest control technician taking over 20 minutes with a 30 per cent accuracy rate.”

      30%? Sounds like they’ve got a 70% accurate test that they’re misreading.

      1. To be fair, Warty, they’re talking about checking for *drugs*.

        1. “not only do they have large manhood but they are now immune to poisons”

  20. Hammond, who was unarmed, was on his first date with 23-year-old Toni Morton, who was eating an ice cream cone in the front passenger seat of his car at the moment of the shooting.

    “Other than that, Miss Morton, how did you like the date?”

    1. When did 23 year old women start dating 19 year old guys?

  21. The war on drugs is futile as it is immoral.

    The folks charged with enforcing it and keeping it alive all have blood stained hands in my view.

    Every single one of them.

    And they know who they are.

    1. Unfortunately, those who enforce it and support it view it as a moral crusade. Worse than that, they see no difference between legality and morality. From their point of view, drugs are illegal, just like rape and murder. So anyone who uses drugs might as well be a rapist or a murderer, since they have no regard for the law. I mean, if someone is going to break drug laws, what other laws are they going to break? They obviously have no morals, because if they did then they would obey the law.

  22. Where PapayaSF to tell us this was a good shoot? Oh, right. This kid was white.

    1. Remember, it’s okay to be an amoral sack of shit as long as you live around mud people.

    2. I bet he’s a yokel racist who uses the term “cuckservative”

      Not like us sophisticates.

      1. Walk like a duck and quack like a duck long enough and you are going to have people calling you a duck.

        1. Republican ducks, amirite? Grrrr! Those people!!

          1. We’re you recently deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time?

            1. Sorry, I thought you had signaled it was time for Other-Shaming

        1. Quick someone think of a folk etymology that won’t make “cuckservative” inherently racist.

          1. God, those racists. So ugh. And the smell?

            1. Admittedly, I am a bit skeeved by their fetish.

          2. There’s nothing racist about a political argument based on masturbating to fantasies of big black bucks sullying your wife’s perfect white womb, Nikki.

            1. “Cuckservative” is an idiotic term used by people at “American renaissance” or wherever, but I think it’s crucial we pretend it’s in wide use here so as to maintain our elevated disgust of the rabble. Who’s with me?

              1. Well, you were the first one to mention the term in this thread.

                1. Yes, but it was only to help prod along the daily moanings about the yokels

                  (shakes fist) Yokels!!

                  1. Maybe you should read Papaya’s posts more closely.

                    1. There are no racist pieces of shit posting here, Nikki. Don’t be such a hysterical broad.

                    2. “Don’t be such a hysterical broad.””

                      You have a wonderful backhand. If people you want to demonize aren’t meeting your expectations…help them along!

                      Sorry for interrupting the ritual

            2. “Cuckservative” is an idiotic term used by people at “American renaissance” or wherever, but I think it’s crucial we pretend it’s in wide use here so as to maintain our elevated disgust of the rabble. Who’s with me?

                1. I think they’re racist too. Beady eyed yokel tree rats

                  1. Yes, the people cheering on police shooting are the real libertarians here.

    3. Just guessing…waiting to find out if this Toni Morton female Svengali was black or white. Did this darkie lead the poor boy (not the sandwich) to his destruction? Or was she white?

  23. “We’re so thankful here in Oconee County that our police departments and sheriffs and things like that, that they’re on top of the drug problems and trying to eliminate all drugs and everything.”””

    Because life is precious, and God, and the Bible.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bd9lkZ1epY

  24. OT: I’ve been teaching the stepkid gun safety the past few weekends, in part because I think it would be fun to take him out shooting. He doesn’t know jack shit. Not even the basics. You’d think that his cop-father might have taught him a thing or two, being that he carries a gun with him everywhere he goes, but nope. Then again, it’s not like cops care about any of the rules. Why should they? Those rules only apply to people who are held responsible for their negligence.

    1. How old is stepkid?

  25. In the media’s defense, I don’t think they care about the rights of black people either. That’s why they rarely talk about these things in terms of the drug war. The story for the media is about racism rather than rights. And the question in their minds is about how we stop the racism, not how we protect anybody’s rights.

  26. Well at least Toni Morrison is mollified.

  27. Bland complains that the shooting of Hammond, who was white,

    Obligatory.

  28. Yeah, the drug war is the deal, but with respect the media not paying enough attention to the execution of unarmed civilians by the police who are not black–people must know that this is part of a deliberate strategy to distract from the real issues and to keep the powerless at each others throats. Everything will be spun to serve the agenda.

  29. The fact that it’s *weed* is partly what makes this so exceptionally absurd and apalling… But then … Is it really ever any different? When they shoot the teen because his date bought meth… It’s AOK according to the media. Or it would seem. It takes these scenarios for anyone to even pause and go, “now that ain’t right”…

  30. “Maybe this incident will wake up more Americans to the reality of the war on drugs, which uses violence to stop people from getting high and therefore constantly risks outcomes like this. Or maybe not.”

    If they didn’t wake up after the flash-grenade-in-the-crib incident, I don’t see a lot of hope here.

  31. Is it a crime to tell lies in an official police report? The facts show that the police report contains a number of false statements intended to exculpate Mark Tiller while traducing Zachary Hammond. The statement that falsely accuses Hammond of the attempted murder of Tiller is the chief example. Some higher state authority needs to crack the whip on cops who try to hide their mistakes behind lies.

  32. “Police say they have dashcam video of the encounter, which might help clarify the facts, but they have not released it yet.”

    Because the pigs are lying. They murdered this boy, and probably planted the dope on his girlfriend.

  33. Has a thorough, statistical study been done to resolve the question: Is marijuana more dangerous when it is legal or illegal? Then let’s do that study for every illegal drug.

  34. “We’re so thankful here in Oconee County that our police departments and sheriffs and things like that, that they’re on top of the drug problems and trying to eliminate all drugs and everything.”

    Including eliminating freedom and liberty and things like that, and everything.

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