No Charges for Cop Who Shot Man on 'First Date'

SC prosecutor cites teen's 'Outlaw' tattoo
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2015 1:21 AM CDT

Newly released dashcam footage of the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in a Hardee's parking lot doesn't match the police version of events, but South Carolina state prosecutors have decided not to file charges against the officer involved. Tenth Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams says the video—which shows Lt. Mark Tiller shooting 19-year-old Zachary Hammond through a side window as he tried to drive away—is "troublesome," but evidence supports Tiller's belief that he was going to be run over, reports the State, which notes that federal charges are still possible. The teen was shot dead during a July 26 drug sting, and his family says he had stopped for a burger while on a first date with his passenger, Tori Morton, who was charged with possession of marijuana.

In a letter to state officials, Adams says the evidence doesn't support the "first date" claim: She says cocaine was found in Hammond's pocket, and 842 pages of text messages from his phone are mostly about drug sales, including some to Morton, the AP reports. In what the Guardian calls "retrospective justification" of Tiller's decision to shoot, Adams says Hammond had recently had the word "Outlaw" tattooed on his arm and wrote in text messages that he had no intention of stopping for law enforcement. She also notes that the sting was set up after a text from Morton offering to sell cocaine and marijuana was accidentally sent to a Highway Patrol officer. (A witness from another police force says he saw an officer "high-five" Hammond's body as it lay in the parking lot.)

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