Family's 'Nagging Question' About Son's Death Resolved

SC officer fired 13 months after shooting the unarmed teen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2016 3:15 AM CDT
This picture of Zachary Hammond was made available by the family's lawyer.   (Eric Bland)

(Newser) – The South Carolina police officer who shot and killed Zachary Hammond has been fired more than a year after the unarmed 19-year-old's death. Seneca Police Chief John Covington declined to comment further on the firing of Mark Tiller, a six-year veteran of the force who had been on paid leave since the July 26, 2015, shooting during a drug sting in a Hardee's parking lot, the State reports. In a version of events Hammond family lawyer Eric Bland called "ridiculous," police said Tiller shot Hammond because he "felt threatened" and believed the teen was trying to run him over.

Dashcam video, however, revealed that Tiller shot Hammond through a side window as he tried to drive away. Earlier this year, the teen's family reached a $2.15 million settlement with the city over the incident, which is still being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department, the Guardian reports. "One of the nagging questions for the Hammond Family was how could Lt. Tiller remain employed after Chief Covington and the City Administration saw the video of Zachary's killing," Bland said in a statement, per the New York Times. "Today, that question was answered." (A witness claimed to have seen cops high-five Hammond's corpse.)

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