Lawsuit Alleges Obstruction of Justice by Seneca Police

by | Aug 23, 2017 | Criminal Defense, Drug Charges, Ethics, Marijuana Prohibition, Personal Injury |

We have successfully handled many possession of marijuana cases in the Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, S.C., areas for our clients. Some are dismissed prior to trial, some are resolved by pre-trial intervention or pleas, and some are resolved by a jury. Others are not so straightforward…

What do you do when you can’t get a trial and you believe your criminal case is being held over your head to prevent your testimony against a police officer?

Tori Morton was a passenger in Zach Hammond’s car when Seneca police officer Mark Tiller shot and killed Hammond. She has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Seneca police have held a marijuana charge against her for the past two years to intimidate her and prevent her from cooperating with the federal investigation into Hammond’s death.

How Did Zach Hammond Die?

Police set up a drug deal with Zach Hammond at a Hardee’s parking lot in Seneca, S.C. When the officers approach Hammond’s car, he attempts to drive away. Officer Tiller runs towards Hammond’s car with his gun drawn and then fires into Hammond’s window as the car passes him, striking Hammond in the back and killing him.

Tiller maintains that Hammond was trying to strike him with the vehicle and that he fired in self-defense. That’s ok. There’s a dashcam video, and you can judge for yourself:

What Does Morton Have to do with It?

Morton was sitting in the passenger seat eating an ice cream cone when officer Tiller charged the car with his gun drawn. The lawsuit alleges that she was charged with marijuana that was found in the car’s glove box, that the weed belonged to Hammond, and that she did not have any drugs in her system. She alleges that, after the shooting, police took her to several locations for interviews that were not recorded.

The lawsuit alleges that she was traumatized not only by the shooting but by the officers’ actions as they celebrated and one officer gave Hammond’s dead body a high-five.

Why Wasn’t the Officer Charged?

Tiller was fired but not until over a year after the shooting. Last year, the city and others settled a civil suit in the case for a total of $2,150,000.

Tenth Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams also announced last year that, although Tiller did not follow procedure, the shooting was justified and he would not be charged with a crime. There is an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Department of Justice which may or may not result in federal charges against Tiller.

Wherever it May Lead…

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, we will investigate your case and follow the evidence wherever it may lead. In most cases, police are just doing their job and they are doing it honestly and ethically.

When they are not and we can prove it, we will do everything possible to hold law enforcement accountable. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.

Ready to Speak with an Attorney?

Contact Coastal Law to discuss your situation.

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