The release of the Zachary Hammond shooting video is being demanded by supporters of the family who believe that South Carolina cop Mark Tiller shot the teen from behind. The lawyers in the case are also claiming that Solicitor Chrissy Adams has no intention of filing charges.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the James Boyd shooting was caught on video, and now the New Mexico police officers who were involved in the incident are facing multiple charges since it is believed they shot the homeless man in the back.
Seneca Police Chief John Covington says at least two police officers were involved in the Zachary Hammond shooting. During a drug bust, one undercover police officer pulled up in a vehicle next to Hammond’s car in order to purchase marijuana from 23-year-old Tori Morton, who was a passenger in the car. Mark Tiller, the Seneca police officer in uniform, was standing by to help with the arrest when Hammond allegedly sped up and tried to run the policeman over. In response, Tiller opened fired, hitting Hammond multiple times through the car window.
Lawyer Eric Bland claims the South Carolina cops must have shot Zachary Hammond from behind based upon the autopsy reports. Covington does admit that Mark Tiller shot from point-blank range, but the police chief also claims the officer officer “actually had his hand on or very close to the car, possibly pushed off from the car” after Hammond allegedly missed hitting Tiller.
In addition, Bland claims the Seneca police officers desecrated the body of the deceased after Zachary Hammond’s death.
“The officer walked back over to the man on the ground rolled him over to his side, put something underneath his body, and then rolled him back. A police officer with a neighboring police force has confirmed to SLED that the Seneca Police Department celebrated the killing of Zachary by desecrating his corpse,” Bland wrote. “After Zachary had been shot and killed, member(s) of the Seneca Police Department lifted his dead hand and ‘high fived’ Zachary Hammond.”
The attorney has also compared the case against the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Although both the officer and the victim were of the same race, this matter should be investigated and reported by the press with the same tenacity and thoroughness as those tragic police shootings we have all heard about involving mixed races, including the North Charleston shooting,” said Bland. “The central issue remains the same: as a society we need to curb the excessive and deadly force by our police departments in situations where such force is unwarranted.”
Based upon this premise, it is argued that the Zachary Hammond shooting video should be released, but the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has refused to release the video, claiming it falls under exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation pursuant to which no arrests have been made,” wrote SLED spokesman Thom Berry. “As such, the records you seek are sensitive law enforcement records not otherwise available by state and federal law that were compiled in the process of detecting and investigating crime the premature disclosure of which would absolutely harm SLED and its prospective law enforcement action in this matter.”
Jay Bender, an expert on the Freedom of Information Act, claims SLED should not be able to deny the release of the video.
“SLED’s had a problem over the years trying to invent its own exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act,” Bender claims, according to WSPA. “The Department of Public Safety, SLED and almost every police department claims that that’s an exemption. It’s just not in the law. They’re making it up.”
It is not clear whether or not the camera captured the moment where police officer Mark Tiller opened fire. The Seneca police have denied all allegations of misconduct by officers at the scene of Hammond’s death. Bland also claims the office of Solicitor Chrissy Adams has no intentions of opening charges against the officer.
“We’re in the process of sending her (Adams) a formal letter and asking her to resign (from the case) and the attorney general take over,” Bland told the Greenville News. “I can’t tell you why, but she has taken some actions that clearly show that she is not going to charge this officer and that she is spending her time trying to sully Zachary.”
Jack Logan, founder of a group called Put Down the Guns Now Young People, also believes Adams is incapable of being impartial in this case. The group asked Adams to step aside in a letter delivered to the courthouse.
“Given your relationship to Lt. Tiller as Chief Solicitor and your public statements about this case thus far, we feel that you are incapable of rendering fair, unbiased decision-making on this case,” the letter says.
In response, Adams said her office is “fully engaged” and claimed the lawyer was sending out a “flood of misinformation and hyperbole about this case.”
“If a decision is made to bring formal charges [against Mark Tiller], rest assured that the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s office will be fully engaged,” she said. “We continue to work closely with SLED, and in conjunction with the (Department of Justice), who have been involved from very early in the process.”
Although SLED has refused to release the Zachary Hammond shooting video, Adams said, “SLED is still investigating this case. As with all investigations, SLED is being thorough and the process does unfortunately take time.”
[Image via YouTube]