D.O.J. Opening Civil Rights Investigation in Police Shooting of Unarmed Teen

D.O.J. Opening Civil Rights Investigation in Police Shooting of Unarmed Teen
Photo Courtesy: Screenshot

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 12 (Doug G Ware) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Zachary Hammond — an unarmed South Carolina teenager who was shot to death by police last month while on a first date.

Hammond, 19, was shot twice July 26 by police in Seneca, S.C., in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant where he and his date went for ice cream. Authorities claim the teen attempted to run over Seneca police officer Lt. Mark Tiller.

It has not been made clear, however, exactly why police converged on Hammond’s vehicle — as he wasn’t the target of any criminal investigation or sting operation. Hammond’s date however was arrested for attempting to sell marijuana to an undercover officer.

According to the Seneca Police Department, Tiller shot Hammond through an open window because he believed the teen was operating his vehicle in a threatening manner.

Local authorities have been investigating the shooting, but the FBI, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina and Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division got involved Wednesday.

Hammond’s family is calling on police to release dashboard camera from the attending patrol cars, hoping the footage will shed more light on the sequence of events.

“We just want answers. We have no clue as to what happened,” Hammond’s mother, Angie, said.

“Our son deserves that, and we deserve that as a family,” father Paul said.



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