Woman in car with Zachary Hammond sues Seneca Police

(WSPA) – The woman who was in the car with Zachary Hammond when he was fatally shot by a Seneca police officer has filed a lawsuit.

Tori Morton is the plaintiff. She’s suing the Seneca Police Department, former officer Mark Tiller and Seneca Police Chief John Covington.

Zachary Hammond, 19, was shot and killed by Seneca Police Officer Lt. Mark Tiller during a drug investigation in July, 2015.

Seneca Chief of Police, John Covington says they can’t comment on open, active litigation.


The lawsuit alleges Seneca failed to properly train its officers in maintaining professionalism in the duties, which led to one officer to “highfive” Zachary’s lifeless hand.

It also alleges the department acted negligently by hiring, training and supervising Lt. Tiller.

The lawsuit says Tori suffered the indignity and trauma of being shot at, watching Hammond die, being interrogated and threatened if she would not corroborate Lt. Tiller’s story and held in detention as punishment for not corroborating Seneca Police’s story to protect Lt. Tiller.

Tori suffers from anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and fears retribution by Seneca Police who continue to use a pending fraudulent misdemeanor charge to further intimidate her, according to the lawsuit.

The litigation is seeking damages for infliction of suffering and pain she experienced, being publicly humiliated, threatened, coerced and falsely imprisoned to get her to corroborate Lt. Tiller’s story.

The lawsuit doesn’t specify a punitive damage amount, says they are asking for “… an amount deemed sufficient
by a jury to impress upon that such conduct will not be tolerated in our society.”


The family of Zachary Hammond reached a 2.15 settlement agreement with Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller, Chief Covington and the City of Seneca.

In the 20 minute hearing, lawyers for both parties expressed satisfaction with the settlement, saying it was time for this to reach a peaceful resolution.

Drew Butler, the lawyer for Lt. Tiller, said he was pleased with outcome, making sure to note that this settlement was not a declaration of guilt from Tiller or other parties cited in the lawsuit. He had nothing to add about the federal investigation into Lt. Tiller.


A press conference will be held on Wednesday, August 9th, at 11:00 in Seneca.

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