An attorney for the teenager who was shot by a Seneca police officer in July said he filed a federal lawsuit Monday that will enable the family to get the dash cam video and other information in the case that 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams has been withholding.
The suit had not been entered into the court’s online database by late Monday.
Attorney Eric Bland said it asserts violations of Zachary Hammond’s civil rights and other state law claims in connection with his death.
“The Hammond family filed this action at this time in order to seek proper redress for the unlawful taking of Zachary’s life and to get answers that should have been forthcoming much before this date,” Bland said.
The lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court in Anderson, will allow attorneys for the Hammonds to use the discovery process to request documents and depositions, and subpoena power provided in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to obtain all relevant information and documents, Bland said.
Attempts to reach the solicitor and a spokesman for the city of Seneca late Monday were unsuccessful.
The suit is the latest in a series of legal efforts in the case of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, who was shot by Lt. Mark Tiller in the parking lot of a Hardee’s restaurant on July 26 during a marijuana sting aimed at a passenger in his car.
Tiller says he fired in self-defense, believing Hammond was trying to run over him with his car.
The Hammonds previously filed a plea with the state Supreme Court asking that it take the case out of the hands of 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams and turn it over to state Attorney General Alan Wilson, for him to give to another prosecutor or handle within his office.
The pleading argues that Adams has a conflict of interest because of statements she allegedly made regarding a Family Court case and because of her close working relationship with the Seneca Police Department.
The family is seeking a high court ruling that would take all prosecutors in the state off cases in which they would decide whether to lodge criminal charges against law enforcement officers within their jurisdiction.
The Greenville News and other media have asked the State Law Enforcement Division to release video of the incident shot from a police vehicle on the scene, but SLED has refused, saying to do so now could harm the investigation.
SLED has turned the video and its report over to Adams, who said she is waiting for information from federal investigators before making a decision.
State Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require law enforcement and prosecutors to get a judge’s approval before withholding police videos beyond the 15 working days allowed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.