Attorney: Zachary Hammond's estate has agreed to a $2.15 million settlement
An officer fatally shot the 19-year-old during a drug investigation last year
Hammond's family had contended his civil rights were violated; the officer wasn't charged
The estate of Zachary Hammond, a 19-year-old who was fatally shot last year by a police officer in Seneca, South Carolina, has settled a civil lawsuit for $2.15 million, the family’s attorney said Tuesday.
“Rather than endure a lengthy litigation process, both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing for the Hammond family and the City of Seneca that is outside the spotlight of litigation,” attorney Eric Bland said in a statement.
Hammond’s family had contended that the teenager’s civil rights were violated.
Bland said the settlement was reached with the city, its Police Department, Chief John Covington and Lt. Mark Tiller, the officer who shot Hammond dead in a Hardee’s parking lot.
The officer’s attorney maintained he acted in self-defense, fearing Hammond was going to run him over with his car. In October, a state prosecutor decided not to charge Tiller in the shooting.
Federal officials have also been investigating the shooting.
“Lieutenant Mark Tiller is pleased that a settlement was reached in this case,” Tiller’s attorney, John Mussetto, said in a statement. “The past few months have been very trying for the City of Seneca, Lieutenant Mark Tiller and the Hammond family. The settlement will hopefully allow everyone to begin the healing process and close a chapter that has been difficult for all parties involved.”
As a sergeant investigated, Tiller was called as backup. He approached Hammond’s vehicle with his gun drawn and opened fire as the teen tried to drive away from the scene.
Authorities released a slow-motion video of the shooting, taken by a police dashboard camera.
The prosecutor said the evidence showed that the officer’s use of deadly force was justified.
“The video at full speed, standing alone, is troublesome,” Adams said in the letter, which was posted on the website of CNN affiliate WYFF. “However, when the video and the totality of the investigation is evaluated and the laws of our state are applied, it is clear that Lt. Tiller broke no state laws.”
CNN’s Michael Martinez contributed to this report.