Drug War

Senseless Police Shooting of Zachary Hammond Results in $2.2 Million Settlement

The unarmed 19-year-old died because of a two-bit drug sting.

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Seneca Police Department

Under an agreement announced yesterday, the city of Seneca, South Carolina, will pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Zachary Hammond, an unarmed 19-year-old who was killed by a Seneca police officer last July. Lt. Mark Tiller claimed Hammond tried to run him over in a Hardee's parking lot, forcing him to fire in self-defense. But that is not what the dashcam video of the deadly encounter seemed to show, which helps explain why the city decided to settle.

Hammond had driven to Hardee's with his date, 23-year-old Tori Morton, who was lured there by an undercover cop posing as a marijuana buyer. Morton was sitting in the front passenger seat of Hammond's Honda Civic as Tiller approached the driver's side with his gun drawn, shouting, "Hands up! Put 'em up! Stop! Stop! Stop! I'm gonna shoot your fucking ass!"

Hammond, who was already backing up as Tiller approached the car, continued on his way, making a sharp left so he could pull out of the parking lot. Tiller ran into the path of the car, then backed up to avoid being hit.

Hammond family

When Tiller fired the first shot, which entered Hammond's chest through the left side, he was no longer in the car's path. Tiller fired a second shot, which hit Hammond in the back, as Hammond was moving past him. There is no indication that Hammond aimed the car at Tiller, and Tiller was not in danger of being struck when he fired those two rounds.

Tiller was nevertheless exonerated last October by 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams, who concluded that he reasonably believed killing Hammond was the only way to avoid death or serious injury. The Justice Department is still looking into the shooting and could conceivably prosecute him for knowingly violating Hammond's constitutional rights, but such a case would be considerably harder to prove than the state charges that Adams rejected.

I think any fair-minded person who watches the video carefully has to question Tiller's use of deadly force. Even Adams conceded that it was "troublesome," although she emphasized that "Lt. Tiller had seconds to make this decision" and said "the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller's decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a 'Monday morning quarterback.'" Whether or not Tiller's actions were legally justified, Hammond's death is not just regettable but morally grotesque, since it would not have happened but for a two-bit drug sting that accomplished nothing, a pointless battle in an unjust war. 

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    1. Always.

  1. So the same standard will be used if an individual steps in front of a squad car and empties a magazine into the front glass. No Monday morning quarterbacking right?

    1. Of course not, he won’t be alive to be charged.

    2. Also fuck plain close officers. If you want to be recognized as police, dress like fucking police. Some dude comes running at me with a drawn gun is going to find himself in a gun fight unless I can plainly tell he is a cop.

      1. So much this. If he isn’t in a uniform that plainly announces his status (I’m seeing some new uniforms that have teen-intsy little logos), then the “civilian” should be entitled to react as if it was a member of the public running up to them screaming and waving a gun around.

        1. If police are at war with the public, then wearing plain clothes is disguising themselves as the “enemy”, and removes their Geneva protection.

      2. Especially since he was going to either buy and/or sell drugs. Yeah, because if I’m a drug dealer/buyer I’m going to totally respond well to an unknown individual approaching the car while yelling that they’re going to ‘shoot my ass’. Seems entirely legit.

  2. It doesn’t take Monday morning quarterbacking to know that stepping in front of a moving vehicle is choosing to put your own life at risk.

    1. …Tiller approached the driver’s side with his gun drawn, shouting, “Hands up! Put ’em up! Stop! Stop! Stop! I’m gonna shoot your fucking ass!”

      Pudgy guy in jeans screaming obscenities and manically waving a gun? Had to be a policeman. Obviously. Solicitor Chrissy knew it was the only way Tiller could avoid getting a owie because Tiller and his colleagues mansplained it to her.

    2. It’s also choosing to give yourself the option to shoot at will because you can now claim that you were going to get run over. It’s kind of uncanny how, whenever there is video of these things, almost invariably the cops insanely escalate the situation immediately. Almost as if they want any excuse at all to open fire.

  3. $22 mill? That recent execution in Arizona should set records.

    1. $2.2, not $22.

      It should be 220.

      And it should come out of the police budget.

      And if that means for a small town that they have no police budget for the next 5 decades…

      Well, good.

      1. (nodding aggressively)

        1. These masturbation euphemisms etc etc.

          1. I wish we’d go back to using ‘phrasing’.

            1. Call it what you want.

      2. Take it out of the pension fund and see how fast this bullshit stops

  4. Another hateful malcontent, unfortunately reaping the whirlwind.

    If these kids weren’t already there to try and do something illegal, this wouldn’t have happened.

    Did the cop have a bit of an itchy trigger-finger? Sure. But really, this was the kids’ fault. If you don’t like the laws, petition gov’t to have them changed. That is your right. It is not your right to unilaterally disobey any law you think is immoral.

    Maybe I don’t think laws against rape and murder are moral, so I should have the complete right to go around raping and murdering (in no particular order), right?

    1. I recognize the handle, so I’m pretty sure you’re sarcastically summarizing dunphy and/or commenters on a news site.

      1. It’s his shtick to draw out cop-suckers. It works surprisingly often.

          1. Yeah, way to queer the setup, Eddie. Geez.

            1. Thank Zod I don’t own a bakery, or I might be forced to bake him a wedding cake.

    2. Look, we get enough idiocy from Tulpa and his socks and from PapayaSF without any of you trying to imitate them.

      1. This kid is white. Papaya won’t be defending this cop anytime soon.

  5. Also, doing drugs…what are the odds the gf has had an abortion?

    100%, I’d say.

    1. At least one.

      1. She has a frequent murderer card. She gets scraped one more time, and the 10th is free.

        1. I stopped going to Barnie’s because they scraped the reward card right when I was going to get my free pound of coffee. Basrards. *spits*

        2. Isn’t it usually the 11th is free? That’s what all my frequent user cards show.

          1. I don’t know where the fuck you’re getting your abortions, but you’re getting ripped off.

        3. You get an even better deal if you prepay, though.

  6. This is going to keep happening until cops somehow learn that people who are trying to get away from them are not imminent threats to their lives.

    1. So, it’s never going to stop?

      1. Private police. Until their paycheck depends on pleasing the customer, they have no incentive not to be thugs.

        1. Everybody knows, you get the best product, when you grant one outfit a monopoly.

    2. The issue, Hugh, is there is a school in that town, is there not? How does the cop know that upon leaving the Hardees, he wouldn’t have driven to the school and shot everyone there?

    3. People who are trying to get away from them are making it more difficult for them to get their authoritah on. So these people are an imminent threat to their powertrip boners. That’s a big deal, Hugh!

  7. Where’s Black Lives Matter? ( or the MSM )

    1. Where are the “community leaders” cautioning the community not to riot because they’re sure the federal authorities will be bringing charges any time now?

      1. Good question. Because the rioting actually seems to *work*.

    2. And where is Toni Morrison? Wasn’t she saying something about white kids getting shot in the back by the police something something?

  8. “the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.'”

    WTF does this even mean?

    Is there a law that prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force based objectively on the video evidence?

    1. Yep. Cops get an extra special self defense exception where it’s much more of a “subjective” exception than it is for us plebs. It’s right there in the Constitution.

      1. But they’re also totally held to a higher standard, you insolent peons!

    2. “After further review, the cop-fellating decision stands”

      /10th Circuit replay official

  9. “Lt. Tiller had seconds to make this decision”

    Which is no different than any other shooting claimed to be in self-defense.

    and said “the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.’

    Methinks she doesn’t know what ‘reasonable’ means. Because it means exactly that.

    1. Tiller fired a second shot, which hit Hammond in the back, as Hammond was moving past him.

      Backshooting someone isn’t “reasonable” self defense?

      /Chrissy Adams

    2. Which is no different than any other shooting claimed to be in self-defense.

      Not true. It’s no guarantee that other murderers will have a shiny badge in their pocket when they kill you. You’re not allowed to preserve your own existence if one of them feels like killing you.

      1. Its the third of ‘Peele’s Principles’.

        1. A citizen may not harm an employee of the State or, through action or inaction, allow that employee to come to harm.

        2. A Citizen must obey all orders by employees of the State unless it conflicts with the First Law.

        3. A citizen must preserve his life for the use of the State unless it conflict with the First or Second law.

  10. Is it “monday morning quarterbacking” for me to imagine my self in the exact same situation, and wonder aloud (read: doubt) if I’d been given the exact same deference?

    1. Yes, the oft used “monday morning quarterback” defense that prosecutors are no match for.

      1. If the ball’s deflated you must acquit?

  11. He’s a murderer.

    Over to David French.

    1. “The thin blue line is all that protects us from violent dopehead anarchy and also Al-Qaeda.” – David French, probably

  12. “the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.'”

    Then, simply, the law says that judging is impossible. Nice.

    1. Judging cops is impossible. Assholes like you and me go to prison for wanton executions over minor crimes.

    2. One time at band camp Lt. Tiller put his taser in his pussy.

  13. She also makes multiple mentions of the fact that the first words out of Tiller’s mouth after shooting Hammond were “he tried to hit me.”

    Remember kids, when there’s video, monotone the words that will exculpate you later at trial.

    Example. While standing over prostrate victim, say “oh my god, he’s got a gun” then fire seven rounds into the victim’s back.

    1. What did you expect him to say, “woo-ee, just three more kills and I beat Deputy Jeter’s record!”

      1. That day is coming.

        I expect poses with corpses to become the next thing.

        1. You think that already isn’t a thing?

          1. Not as far as the public knows. You, with your mad Google-fu and critical thinking skills, are a higher standard to clear.

            I should be more clear. I expect trophy pictures lifted from cop’s personal phones hitting the front page of newspapers to be the next thing.

            1. You know they’ve taken some. You just know it.

              1. Abso-fucken-lutely.

  14. If someone starts walking up to my car with a gun shouting “i’m going to shoot you.” You better believe I’m going to haul ass out of there. Why not start with something like “POLICE”

  15. You guys are missing what’s important here: This kid may be dead, but at least he wasn’t able to buy a plant legal in numerous other states.

  16. Under an agreement announced yesterday, the city of Seneca, South Carolina, will pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Zachary Hammond

    Tax payers pick up the tab and the cop will face no criminal penalties whatsoever. That’s called “justice”.

    The Justice Department is still looking into the shooting and could conceivably prosecute him for knowingly violating Hammond’s constitutional rights, but such a case would be considerably harder to prove than the state charges that Adams rejected.

    Too bad Hammond wasn’t black.

  17. “the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.'”

    RESPECT MUH AUTHORI-TAH.

    Now legal code.

    Brilliant.

    1. Is it not exactly the purpose of the courts to “Monday-morning quaterback” allegedly criminal actions?

      1. Don’t look at what the words mean. Look at what they are meant to do: distract the average moron. The average moron hears “no Monday morning quaterbacking” and nods. They don’t stop to think “uh, why the hell not?”

        It may seem trite, but it works, which is why we see this kind of nonsense being spouted about this stuff all the time.

      2. What if it is a MNF game?

    2. “Please! Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.”

  18. Semi related:
    Shooting of Laquan McDonald: Chicago Police Officer Charged With Teen’s Murder Gets Hired as Janitor

    Van Dyke, who was suspended from the Chicago Police Department after being charged with murder for the 17-year-old’s death in 2015, has been hired to be a janitor by the Fraternal Order of Police.

    1. And what does his salary and benefit package look like?

      I expect to come back from RTFA absolutely furious.

      1. I dunno. Wouldn’t that be humiliation? All you get to do is to clean the shit that the FOP management smears on the stall walls?

        1. That’s if he’s actually performing janitorial duties at the set janitorial pay and benefits. If, as I suspect, this is just a cover for giving him his cop salary and benefits package on light duty* desk work, then it’s yet another consequence-avoidance tool.

          * “Just don’t sign anything that might get us caught.”

          1. The article made no mention of it, either way. They did note in their own defense that this is totes common, what’s the BFD?

            1. Police: The ultimate Cosa Nostra.

              Why can’t they just off anyone who goes against the organization interests, like the any normal syndicate does?

          2. According to DNA Info, he is making $12 an hour.

    2. “Hey Dyke, someone shit on toilet seat again.”

  19. No amount of money is too large to keep our streets free of dangerous drug addicts.

  20. the city of Seneca, South Carolina, will pay $2.2 million

    Which is pretty depressing. The kinds of actuarial calculators they typically use for “lifetime value” is based on age and average lifetime income, which puts even ‘po-folk’ over the $6m mark. But i guess that’s an insurance-type calculation, not a legal one…. which i assume would be based on “what have they paid in the past” for wrongful-death suits. Or maybe, “just what the lawyer thinks they can get”

  21. 2.2 million divided by 8,102 (the latest population figures for Seneca, SC from the Wikipedia article on the place) equals $271.54 per resident. That’s what this guy’s fuckup cost you.

    1. Hmm. Interesting line of thought opened by that.

      I could support a law requiring that any settlement or judgment paid by a city for violating someone’s civil rights must be funded by a one time per capita tax imposed on all residents of the city within three months, accompanied by a letter explaining why the exaction is being made.

      The backlash would be EPIC! Which is what we need, but aren’t getting.

  22. I forget, what distinguishes a true threat?

    1. Its a simple algorithm:

      Is the person threatened a cop or a non-cop.

      If cop, threat is true.

      If non-cop threatened by cop, threat is not true.

      If non-cop threatened by non-cop, threat is true if a reasonable person would agree it is a true threat.

      And people say law is hard.

  23. “the law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.'”

    So the law says that a cop’s actions can never be questioned. Amazing.

  24. I think any fair-minded person who watches the video carefully has to question Tiller’s use of deadly force.

    Refusing to obey the commands is the ultimate existential threat. It negates the officer’s very being. Of course he was justified in using lethal force to defend himself.

  25. The PD website:

    http://www.senecapd.com/intercept.html

    Not saying you should e-mail the victorious hero / dog handler…

  26. These settlements and judgements should be paid out of the violator’s pension fund.

  27. “The law prohibits viewing Lt. Tiller’s decision to use deadly force from the perspective of a ‘Monday morning quarterback.'”

    Does it, really?

  28. RCMP head Bob Paulson tripped up by speeding ticket tale

    Finally Paulson said, “It was a joke,” but yes it did happen, and he had been given a warning by the officer rather than a speeding ticket. The final question, which Paulson clearly didn’t like was, “Did you get preferential treatment by not getting a ticket?” Paulson delivered a firm “No” and then, clearly at his limit, ended the news conference.

    Paulson was irritated likely because, hey, he was just trying to get a laugh with a folksy little anecdote and then the nit picking media blows it up into a big deal.

    But the problem, seemingly lost on him, is that the theme of Paulson’s speech, and indeed much of his tenure, has been about a national police force that’s fair, transparent and accountable.

    What the commissioner obviously didn’t realize on the fly was that his story may have undermined his core message. If he wasn’t accountable, if an officer wouldn’t dare write up the boss caught red-handed, where’s the veracity in that messaging?

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