No criminal charges will be filed against a South Carolina cop who killed a 19-year-old during a drug sting, a state prosecutor said Tuesday.
Prosecutor Chrissy Adams, who works closely with the local police involved in the shooting, said Seneca officer Mark Tiller won’t face state charges over the July 26 shooting death of Zachary Hammond, who was on a date with a woman under investigation by vice police.
“After careful consideration of the facts of the case, a thorough review of the state investigation, and an extensive review of all applicable law, I have determined that no criminal charges should be filed against Lt. Mark Tiller at the state level,” she said in a statement.
Hammond was waiting in his car outside a Hardee’s while the woman he was dating, Tori Morton, met with an undercover officer to reportedly complete a drug deal.
Officer Tiller then ran up to the teen’s car with his gun drawn, to which Hammond responded by trying to drive away.
That’s when Tiller unloaded on the teen at near point-blank range.
The officer later said he shot Hammond because he felt threatened.
Morton, who was the target of the police investigation, was only charged with simple possession of marijuana.
Hammond’s family has since filed a federal lawsuit disputing the officer’s claim that he was acting in self-defense, stating that because Hammond was shot in the side and back, he wasn’t an immediate threat to the officer.
“I think they’re grabbing pretty hard saying that Zach was trying to run over the officer,” Hammond’s father told The Greenville News. “It didn’t look like that in the video to me.”
“He’s running beside the car… if anything he put himself in that position; to me it was very sloppy police work.”
The family also alleges both the police and paramedics mishandled Hammond’s body by leaving it on the ground for 90 minutes and giving it a high-five as a joke.
The Justice Department has launched its own probe into the shooting.
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