Family of teen killed in police pot bust requests federal probe

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SENECA, SC — The family of a South Carolina teen shot to death by a police officer has requested federal intervention in his case.

Zachary Hammond, 19, was fatally shot by a police officer July 26 while in the parking lot of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant in Seneca, South Carolina, according to Eric Bland, one of the attorneys representing the teen’s family.

In a statement, the attorneys requested that the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI intervene in the ongoing investigation due to what they called “the substantial violations of his civil rights” and the need for a “transparent and independent investigation of the Seneca Police Department.”

“The Hammond family hopes and trusts that the United States Justice Department will investigate the death of their son with the same intensity and thoroughness as it has demonstrated in other interracial settings,” read the statement.

Seneca’s police chief says the officer was attempting to arrest Hammond when the teen, who was unarmed, accelerated the car and drove toward the officer, forcing the officer to shoot in self-defense.

But an attorney for Hammond’s family says an independent autopsy commissioned by the family determined that the car wasn’t moving when the teen was shot.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has taken over the investigation and collected the handgun used in the shooting as evidence.

Kathryn Richardson, a spokeswoman for SLED, said the investigation is continuing. Richardson also confirmed there is dashcam video of the incident, but would not say when it would be released.

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