No state charges filed against police officer in S.C. teen’s death

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 27, 2015 1:20 PM

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A white police officer in South Carolina who fatally shot a white teen who was sitting in his car outside a fast food restaurant will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Zachary Hammond, 19, died on July 26 in the small town of Seneca after he was shot by police Lieutenant Mark Tiller through the open window of the car.

Police have said Hammond drove his Honda Civic directly at officers after they asked him to put his hands on the steering wheel during a stop that was part of a drug sting.

A private pathologists' report found that Hammond was shot twice, once in the left shoulder from behind and once in the left side of his chest. The chest wound punctured his heart and lungs and killed him, according to the autopsy.

"After careful consideration of the facts of the case ... I have determined that no criminal charges should be filed," 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams said in a statement.

Erick Bland, an attorney for Hammond's parents, said he disagreed with her decision, adding that dash cam video of the shooting showed "the officer put himself in a position that this situation escalated quickly."

The officer never gave Hammond the opportunity to put his hands up, Bland said.

The shooting is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice.

(Editing by David Adams)