The family of Zachary Hammond on Tuesday asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to take action in the case of their son, who was shot and killed by a Seneca police officer during an attempted marijuana bust more than a month ago, an attorney for the family said.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting but has not released any information, including video of the incident from the officer’s dashboard camera, despite requests from The Greenville News and other news outlets under the state Freedom of Information Act.
“We are seeking that this matter be resolved in an expedited basis because of the public issues involved and the need for this matter to have closure sooner rather than later,” attorney Eric Bland said.
It would be at the discretion of the Supreme Court to consider the case, which hasn’t gone through the lower courts, Bland said.
“However, we have argued that it should be accepted by the court because it is a matter of extreme public importance and goes to the public’s trust and integrity in the justice system,” he said.
Hammond, 19, was shot on July 26 by Lt. Mark Tiller in the parking lot of a Hardee’s restaurant after an undercover officer identified a passenger in his car as a suspect attempting to sell marijuana.
Tori Morton of Pickens, who was on a date with Hammond that night, was charged with “simple possession of marijuana.”
An independent autopsy done for the family indicated Hammond was shot twice through the open driver’s side window, “from back to front.”
Tiller said he believed Hammond was trying to run over him with his car, Police Chief John Covington has said.
Mark Powell, a spokesman for state Attorney General Alan Wilson, said the AG’s office would have no comment on the pending litigation.
RON BARNETT, The Greenville News