Attorneys for the family of Zachary Hammond on Tuesday filed a motion responding to Seneca Police Chief John Covington’s claim that Hammond’s lawyers created a “media circus” in the aftermath of the teenager’s shooting by a Seneca officer.
“In reality, if there has been a media circus surrounding this case, its Ring Master was Chief John Covington and the star attraction was the mysterious dash cam and post shooting videos that were secreted from the Hammonds and the public for far too long,” the motion says.
Attorney Eric Bland, representing the Hammond family, had sought to subpoena the public relations firm hired by the city to handle media requests following the July 26 shooting outside a Hardee’s restaurant.
“From CNN to The Washington Post to The Greenville News, Bland Richter (the law firm) has proceeded to advocate every aspect of the Plaintiff’s case via interviews, press releases and press conferences,” attorneys for the city said in their motion to quash the subpoena of Complete Public Relations.
It said the Hammonds’ lawyers made public statements that “have proven to be both premature and ultimately untrue.”
In the response, the Hammonds’ lawyers said the city’s motion to quash the subpoena was both factually and legally “meritless.”
It argues that it was the city that attempted to run a “media campaign to capture headlines and advocate its case via the press” by hiring a PR firm.
It says that Covington gave “numerous false statements to the media," including saying Hammond’s “car was still coming at him” when the officer shot.
The dash cam video, released on the same day that 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced that she would bring no charges against Lt. Mark Tiller for shooting Hammond, showed Tiller standing to the side of the car as he fired two shots.
Tiller was attempting to arrest Hammond and his date on drug charges while they were parked in the restaurant parking lot.
The Hammonds are suing the city, the police chief and Tiller in federal court.