Following the death of their 19-year-old son Zachary, who was killed by a police officer with the Seneca Police Department, the Hammond family of South Carolina filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Seneca for which they were recently awarded a $2.15 million settlement.
Zachary was shot twice, once in the shoulder and once in the chest, during a botched undercover drug bust outside of the Hardee’s restaurant in Seneca back in July of last year. The Huffington Post reports that the target of the sting operation was not Zachary, but rather his passenger.
The officer who shot the unarmed teenager, Lt. Mark Tiller with the Seneca Police Department, was cleared of any wrongdoing last year following an investigation that found his use of deadly force to have been justified. However, a federal investigation into the slaying remains open at this time.
According to the police, the deceased accelerated the vehicle he was operating in the direction of Lt. Tiller, which caused Tiller to open fire out of fear for his own life.
News of the settlement was announced on Tuesday by an attorney representing the family in the wrongful death suit. The attorney, Eric Bland, indicated in a statement to The Huffington Post that “both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing” for both the family as well as the city. Bland also indicated that the settlement has brought about an end to the legal battle between the family and the city, as he iterated this point in stating that there will not be any “further legal proceedings between the parties” involved.
There will be no further legal proceedings between the parties […] 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.
ABC 13 WLOS cited an independent autopsy performed on the teen while reporting that he was shot in the side of the chest and in the left rear shoulder during the incident which claimed his life on July 26, 2015.
According to various reports, the drug bust in which he was shot by law enforcement was directed at apprehended those involved in the illicit sale of marijuana.