Although the Hammond’s lawsuit has been settled for $2.15 million, the documents revealed during the litigation process caused us to submit records requests with the city of Seneca.
A former co-worker submitted a statement to Hammond’s lawyer stating several incidents that Lt. Mark Tiller was involved in that weren’t included in his personnel file that was released in August of 2015.
Those incidents included a crash in his patrol car with a ride-along inside, the loss of his K-9 for 13 hours, and the loss of a service weapon that was recovered by a citizen.
We sent a Freedom of Information Act to Seneca Police in January asking for any and all documents pertaining to those incidents.
The city gave us several documents that showed Tiller was responding to a call about a fight at the Hardees in Seneca when he flipped on his blue lights and began to speed and weave through traffic, while trying to avoid another car, Tiller spun out of control and hit a store on 1st Street. Documents show that Tiller’s car was totaled and the city was given a check for over $6,000.
When asked if there were any documents outlining an investigation into whether Tiller followed policy, Lane Davis, a Nelson Mullins lawyer representing Seneca, responded that it was deemed an accident and that there were no documents of an investigation.
The only document we received regarding the loss and search of Tiller’s K-9, was an email sent from Police Chief John Covington to Greenville News reporter Ron Barnett back in August of 2015.
That emailed detailed why Tiller’s K-9 ran away, including that the dog was going after another dog in heat and that it was Mother Nature, and not Tiller’s fault. No official documents were provided and Tiller was deemed not at fault.
No documents were provided about the loss of Tiller’s service weapon, when Davis was asked if the event happened, he said yes, but there were no documents related to it. When asked why, Davis responded that it was deemed that the latch on Tiller’s patrol car was faulty and that the weapon fell out. Again, Tiller was deemed not at fault for this and there are no documents related to the incident.
We also asked for any disciplinary documents over Tiller’s 6 years of employment. We were told none existed and that Tiller was always found in excellent standing.