Prosecutor: Officer Who Fatally Shot Teen Committed No Crime

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A South Carolina police officer will not face criminal charges for killing a 19-year-old man during a drug sting, a state prosecutor announced Tuesday..

COLUMBIA, S.C. A local prosecutor in South Carolina said Tuesday that she would not bring charges against a police lieutenant who fatally shot a 19-year-old man during an attempted drug arrest in a Hardee’s parking lot in July.South Carolina will not file criminal charges against the police officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Zachary Hammond this summer, a state lawyer announced Tuesday. “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,” Tenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams said in a statement. The case has drawn outrage in some quarters, partly because a private autopsy on the man, Zachary Hammond, who was unarmed, indicated that he had been shot from the side and the back, and through his car’s side window.

Ben Fields body slamming a female student to the ground, but defended Fields by noting that a third, unreleased video shows the unidentified girl hitting the officer “with her fists.” He added: “If she had not disrupted that school, disrupted that class, we would not be standing here today.” However, he concluded, “Does that justify the means? Therefore, the only conclusion that can be rendered is that deadly force was justified,” she wrote in a letter to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state agency that investigated the case. “It’s just a sad day to see an unarmed kid who was shot unnecessarily by excessive force where it clearly violated all the police policies,” Bland told the Greenville News. “This was just a traffic stop at the time.” Bland said the family will pursue its civil lawsuit against police.

The text was intended for a person identified as “CA” but instead went to a state Highway Patrol officer whose phone number was the same except for one digit. South Carolina authorities on Tuesday also released the following video footage of the incident, which shows an officer approach a car and shoot as it accelerates away. “The video clearly shows that Lieutenant Tiller came in this situation and escalated it, with the guns drawn and where he positioned himself,” said Eric Bland, a lawyer for the Hammond family. This year, officers have fatally shot just over 800 people, roughly half of them white and a fourth black, according to a separate and ongoing Washington Post Washington Post investigation. Hammond can be seen on video subsequently putting his car in reverse,” the prosecutor wrote. “Hammond is able to reverse and maneuver his vehicle between Tiller’s patrol car and [Seneca Police Sgt. Tiller quickly approaches Hammond’s car on the driver’s side with his gun drawn and repeatedly orders Hammond to stop and to show his hands.” The video shows Tiller eventually being face to face with Hammond’s car and “shows Tiller’s feet going underneath the car at the approximate time the shots are fired.

With the officer’s improper approach and position, she suggested, “control of the situation was lost.” She also noted that federal officials were reviewing the case to “determine if any federal charges, not available under state law, would be appropriate.” The Justice Department opened an inquiry in August, several weeks after the shooting.

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