For the first time, the City of Seneca is speaking out about the night 19-year-old Zach Hammond was shot and killed by a police officer.
The Hammond family filed a federal lawsuit against the police department last month and, Friday, the city filed its response to some harsh allegations.
In 20 pages, the city’s response is a nearly line-by-line rebuttal.
The Hammond lawsuit describes in gruesome detail what the Hammond’s say happened this summer on the night their son was shot and killed in his car by Seneca police officer, Lt. Mark Tiller, in the parking lot of Hardees.
That same week this summer, Chief John Covington said Tiller shot at Hammond because he drove the car towards Tiller and he feared for his life.
The Hammond lawsuit said Tiller charged the car from behind, screaming an expletive before firing into the open driver side window and hitting Hammond twice in the shoulder and the back. Among other allegations, it states one or more officers “high fived” the lifeless body in celebration before leaving the body uncovered to be overtaken by ants.
“They’re not letting anyone know anything and it’s just causing more distrust between law enforcement, SLED and regular citizens,” said Angie Hammond in an interview this week with 7 On Your Side’s Addie Hampton.
Hammond said she was fed up by the silence from public officials who she feels have stone walled her from getting any answers about her son.
Now, this response from the city claims very little from the Hammond lawsuit is true. Seneca officials deny nearly every allegation, saying Tiller shot from the front portion of the driver side.
They do admit officer Anthony Moon made a “statement” regarding “inappropriate contact” with Zach’s body, but deny that neither Officer Moon nor any other officer ever touched the body inappropriately. Officer Moon is no longer with the Seneca police department for reasons unrelated to the Hammond case.
This response comes on the heels of three Upstate newspapers filing lawsuits against the State Law Enforcement Division to get dash cam video from the scene that night. SLED is the investigating agency and, despite their investigation being closed, it still has not been released to the media or the family.
Thursday, the Hammond’s learned that the state Supreme Court would not consider their petition to remove 10th Circuit Solicitor, Chrissy Adams, from the case.