If Seneca police Lt. Mark Tiller had another opportunity, I’m sure he would not shoot the unarmed and fleeing Zachary Hammond. When he thought his suspect was going to escape, he reacted instinctively to prevent it, like a lion who had stalked his prey. The lion’s main objective is not to kill, but to stop a wildebeest from getting away.
As the teen attempted to flee, it looks as though Lt. Tiller instinctively placed his left hand on the car, as if he could physically apprehend it with his hand. When that failed, he drew his weapon and shot 19-year old Zachary Hammond in the head. It wasn’t premeditated or inherently malicious; Lt. Tiller didn’t have time to think, and his instincts took over.
However it is incomprehensible that he was not charged with a crime. The public will accept bad decisions and mistakes by policemen, because they operate in real time. But solicitors have time to examine and deliberate events.
Riots and anarchy often occur after bad decisions by the criminal-justice system, because the public expects and demands equal justice. When prosecutors and grand juries come to obviously unfair decisions, that harms the reputation of policemen as much as the unjustified killings themselves. The Black Lives Matter movement is a product of grand jury malfeasance, not the unjust killings.
Unfortunately, we have come to accept unjust killings by policemen, but society will never quietly tolerate a government that condones these killings.
Hammie W. Duckson