Seneca, SC — Up until Saturday, it seemed as though the cop who shot an unarmed teen on video was not going to receive one bit of justice for his disgraceful and cowardly murder of Zachary Hammond. More than a year after the killing, Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller remained on the force. However, on Saturday, suddenly and without reason, he was terminated by the chief.
On July 26, Tiller ran toward 19-year-old Zachary Hammond’s car with his gun drawn as Hammond’s date, Tori Morton, allegedly sold a few grams of marijuana to an undercover cop.
According to Seneca Police Chief John Covington, Hammond drove toward Lt. Tiller in an attempt to murder him. Fearing for his life, Tiller shot Hammond twice at point-blank range killing him. However, the dashcam footage, which was kept secret for months and only released as the department announced the murder was justified, showed that this was not true.
Tiller deliberately and cowardly shot into the side of the fleeing vehicle, ending this young man’s life — over a plant.
For over a year, Hammond’s family waited for Tiller to be brought to justice that never came. However, in a tiny concession, the chief announced on Saturday that Tiller is being fired.
On Saturday, Seneca Police Chief John Covington released this vague and cryptic statement:
“I have terminated Mark Tiller’s employment with the Seneca Police Department. His final day on the payroll is effective Friday Sept. 9th. This is a ‘Personnel Matter’ and therefore I am unable to provide any further comment or information beyond this statement.”
In April, the family reached a settlement with the city of Seneca and received $2,150,000. However, they were quick to note that no amount of money could ever fill the void in their lives put there by officer Tiller.
In spite of the local investigation clearing the officer almost immediately, there has been an ongoing federal investigation with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. US Attorneys were not available to answer if the recent termination had any relation to findings in the federal investigation, reports WSPA.
Due to the cryptic nature of the chief’s statement, however, it is unknown if this investigation has anything to do with Tiller’s termination. It is entirely plausible, nay, likely, that this officer committed yet another atrocious act of violence.
Attorneys for the Hammond Family also released a statement, Saturday.
“For reasons not provided although speculation is abound, Chief Covington made the admirable decision to terminate Lt. Tiller’s employment. For that we all are grateful and we want to let Chief Covington know that we appreciate his decision. After Zachary’s death, the Hammonds placed their faith in the justice system and were hoping that Lt. Tiller was going to have to answer for his actions and the decisions he made which resulted in such a senseless death. With each passing day the Hammonds never lost hope that Lt. Tiller would in the future never again have the highest honor of serving the public as a police officer, wear the uniform and carry a weapon. It appears that today is such a day.”
While the news of Tiller’s termination is certainly heartening, this man deserves far more than just losing his job. He needs to be in prison.
Below is the video of Tiller’s actions. Remove the badge from this situation, and it becomes, without a doubt, cold-blooded murder.