By Steve Elliott
In a horrific abuse of police power, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond was shot and killed in July in a Hardee's parking lot by an officer after an undercover narc lured 23-year-old Toni Morton, Hammond's date, there to sell marijuana. After Hammond was shot and killed, Morton was charged with possession of 10 grams of marijuana.
On Tuesday, three months later, local Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced she won't be pressing charges after "careful consideration of the facts of the case, a thorough review of the State investigation, and an extensive review of all applicable law," reports Ed Krayewski at Reason.com.
Police claim the officer, Mark Tiller, acted in "self defense," but attorneys for Hammond's family point out that an autopsy they commissioned found Hammond was shot in the back. The dash cam video of the incident, released by authorities, shows that Tiller fired at Hammond after the car was already driving away.
Attorneys also petitioned the South Carolina attorney general to remove Adams from the case, since it involved a cop within her circuit and because of other conflicts of interests. Adams refused to recuse herself, while the attorney general hasn't responded to the petition.
The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the incident to determine whether to bring federal charges. The U.S. attorney investigating asked her not to release any more information about the shooting, Adams claimed.