SC Cop Killed Unarmed Teen —but This Time, No Outcry

Family says case isn't getting attention because Zachary Hammond was white
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2015 2:31 PM CDT
SC Cop Killed Unarmed Teen —but This Time, No Outcry

Zachary Hammond was killed by police while on a first date in South Carolina on July 26. If you haven't heard about his death, his family says it's because he's white. Their lawyer, Eric Bland, says the unarmed 19-year-old was driving in a Hardee's parking lot with his date, Tori Morton, when he was confronted by two officers who'd set up a drug buy with Morton, reports the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. Bland says as Hammond slowed his car and reached downward, toward the car's gear shift, someone shouted that he had a gun. The two gunshots that killed Hammond, striking him in the shoulder and torso, were mysteriously left out of the police report, which said officers arrested Morton for possessing 10 grams of pot. Police now say the officer who shot Hammond was a victim of "attempted murder" as Hammond "accelerated and came toward the officer," reports Fox Carolina.

The results of a private autopsy requested by Hammond's family, however, state he was shot in the "left rear shoulder, and through the back of his chest," Bland says, meaning the bullets came from behind or "through an open driver’s side window." Hammond's death is now considered a homicide, but Bland says it isn't getting nearly as much attention as similar cases, like that of Sam DuBose. Some argue the apparent lack of video or photos has resulted in less coverage, but "the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen," Bland says. "All people need to be outraged by this." Police say the officer is now on administrative leave but refuse to release his name for fear of "harassment, intimidation, or abuse." (More police shooting stories.)

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