South Carolina police officer who fatally shot unarmed teen fired a year after incident
Fourth Estate Staff
Seneca, SC, United States (4E) – The South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager last year was fired from his post at the Seneca Police Department but it is unclear what the reason is behind the firing.
Seneca Police Chief John Covington said in a statement that Officer Mark Tiller’s last day on the payroll is on Friday. He added, “This is a ‘Personnel Matter’ and therefore I am unable to provide any further comment or information beyond this statement.”
Hammond was shot and killed on July 26, 2015 and was on a first date when Tiller shot him twice. Accordingly, the date of Hammond, a woman named Tori Morton, was the subject of a sting. An undercover officer was waiting for Morton at a Hardee’s when Hammond pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant.
Authorities argued that Hammond tried to run over Tiller thus the firing. The lawyer of the family called the accusation offensive and ridiculous. No criminal charges were filed against Tiller but a judge approved a $2.1 million settlement for the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Hammond. A state prosecutor did not recommend charges against Tiller as he argued that the officer broke no law in firing at Hammond. Morton, on the other hand, was charged with simple possession of marijuana.
A lawyer for the Hammond family said that firing Tiller was admirable and that they appreciate Covington’s decision. The statement adds, “After Zachary’s death, the Hammonds placed their faith in the justice system and were hoping that Lt. Tiller was going to have to answer for his actions and the decisions he made which resulted in such a senseless death. With each passing day the Hammonds never lost hope that Lt. Tiller would in the future never again have the highest honor of serving the public as a police officer, wear the uniform and carry a weapon. It appears that today is such a day.”
Although Tiller has been fired, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department are reportedly still investigating the case.