Oconee County, SC -- As police continue to claim that their officer was justified in shooting an unarmed teen in the back because they were attempting to bust his date for a miniscule amount of marijuana, more details continue to emerge.
Zachary Hammond was killed on July 26 by Seneca police Lt. Mark Tiller during a drug sting operation in the parking lot of a Hardee’s in Seneca. Tiller says he shot Hammond because the teen was driving his car toward him.
However, Hammond’s autopsy revealed that the teen was shot in the back of his left shoulder and his side. According to witness statements, Hammond’s vehicle was not moving when Tiller shot him twice. In a letter from Hammond’s attorney to the FBI, a witness has recently come forward describing officers planting evidence under Hammond’s body and high-fiving his dead hand after the shooting.
A Supreme Court Petition has also been started which asks for the prosecutor in the case to step down, citing a conflict of interests.
The petition asks that Attorney General Alan Wilson remove 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams from the case and replace her with an independent solicitor, according to WYFF. The petition accuses Adams of having a conflict of interest because of her relationship with police.
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Suspicion surrounds this case as police not only refused to release dashcam video, but they actually hired a PR firm to cover for them. Dashcam video and surrounding surveillance footage likely exists that shows the sting operation gone awry, but the police remain tight-lipped.
While the police continue to push the narrative that Tiller feared for his life after a teen with no criminal record suddenly attempted to murder a cop that night, witness accounts, and autopsy reports tell us otherwise.
Now, for the first time, the statement from Tori Diana Morton, Hammond’s passenger and his date that night, was publicly released which corroborates the autopsy and the testimony.
Below is Morton's statement, verbatim and unedited:
Pulling into Hardee’s parking lot, Zach and I were sharing a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from McDonald’s and as we were pulling into a parking spot. The police SUV was lighted up in blue flashing lights.
The two officers got out and had they’re gun drawn, yelling that he would blow our (expletive) heads off and immediately started firing. As the shots rang the car moved and rolled forward and along the curb until another cop car crashed into the back of Zach’s car to stop us. Ad the surrounded the car they started yelling, “Where’s the gun? Get the gun” Zach was already dead and then they drug (sic) us out of the car and onto the ground and the officer that stood me up -- he put the car in park.
“When we pulled into the parking spot not fully in the spot and the car still in drive the police exited they’re (sic) SUV and came and aimed weapons towards each of our windows and were in arms length aimed at Zach and shouting ‘We’re going to blow you (expletive) heads off.
“As the car stopped and Zach saw the lights in the mirror and I looked up to notice the cops as well he turned toward me to look at me when the first shot was fired then he lost motor control causing the care to roll toward the curb rolling left and forward only stopping by the cop car smashing into the left back side of Zach’s car.
"It happened within seconds with no warning.
"The car was never in park pulling into the Hardee’s parking spot. That’s why the officer put it in park after the handcuffs were put on me,
"I watched them take the gun from the officer that killed Zach and move it from car to car as they were in and out of the trunks of each car present. I was unhandcuffed given a cigarette and place in the alley behind the Hardee’s alone for a long time and remained on the scene for hours. Taken away and brought back multiple times before my arrest.
The innocent description of these two teens who were out getting ice cream makes this story all the more heartwrenching. For less than a joint of marijuana, these uniformed agents of the state were attempting to kidnap and cage a young woman. Instead of kidnapping their intended target, however, they would murder her date, an innocent young man with his entire life ahead of him.
The police asked me who Zach was. They asked was this guy Zach, was that his name and how did I know him. I said he’s Zach and asked Zach what? So I said I don’t know. I just know he’s Zach and it was our first date.