Wednesday, 05 August 2015
Autopsy Shows Police Shot Zachary Hammond In The Back
Attorneys representing the family of Zachary Hammond, the 19-year-old fatally shot by police last month in Seneca, South Carolina, released an independent autopsy Wednesday showing that the officer's two bullets struck Hammond in the back of his left shoulder and his left side.
Seneca police Chief John Covington had earlier maintained that Hammond was hit in the shoulder and chest, and "not shot from behind" during the July 26 incident, which occurred as police sought to carry out an arrest in a marijuana sting operation targeting a passenger in Hammond's car. Covington has also said that the officer was forced to use his firearm after Hammond accelerated toward him, causing him to fear for his life. Other reports suggest that someone shouted about Hammond having a gun in the moments before he was killed, although Hammond was unarmed. His passenger, Tori Dianna Morton, 23, was charged with simple possession of marijuana after the shooting.
Attorney Eric Bland has repeatedly pushed back against Covington's claims, alleging that the officer, whose name has not been released, shot Hammond in the back and that Hammond's car wasn't moving when the bullets hit him. On Wednesday, Bland released a statement to the media arguing that the autopsy, conducted July 30 at a Greenville hospital, is proof the official police explanation is inaccurate.
"Their findings are telling," Bland said of the medical examiners' conclusion. "They directly contradict the narrative that Chief Covington has tried to shape in this matter. It was deceptive to state that Zachary was shot in the 'chest and shoulder.' It did not give it proper context. It implied that the officer shot Zachary from the front. He did not. The shots were clearly fired from the side to the rear of the vehicle through [the] driver’s open window at close range."
You see, this is not a black and white issue, it is a militarization of the police issue. It is an out of control police problem.