No Outrage over White Teen Shot by Police Officer

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( — August 7, 2015) — Sincinnati, SC – Parents of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, who was shot by police in the back at point blank range, wonder if the response of the community and media would be different if he was black, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The police officer stated he shot Hammond in “self-defense” saying that the teen tried to run him over with his car. The autopsy report, however, showed Hammond was shot in the back, which puts the officer who opened fire out of the path of the car.

According to the Seneca Police report, the officer approached Hammond’s vehicle when an undercover officer arranged a marijuana buy with Hammond’s 23-year-old girlfriend Tori Morton. The initial report mentions finding marijuana, but nothing about the shooting.  

The official autopsy confirmed Hammond was shot twice, but did not say from what angle. The independent autopsy Hammond’s family arranged, showed he was shot from behind and above, which puts shooting officer beside car, away from path of the moving car.

Hammond’s family attorney, Eric Bland, told the media on Tuesday that Hammond was on his first date with Morton when the incident happened. He also presented the autopsy report confirming Hammond was shot from behind through an opened car window, once in the left shoulder and once fatally in the back. According to Bland, Hammond was unarmed and didn’t pose a threat to the officer.

Hammond’s death came a week after a similar case when a Cincinnati cop killed a black man, Samuel Dubose, allegedly in self-defense, claiming Dubose tried to run him over with the car. The autopsy, however, showed the killing was unjustified. The case sparked a huge response of the community against police racism, and the police officer was later accused of murder.

While Dubose’s killing has attracted national attention, Hammond’s was barely noticed. The Los Angeles Times counted over 43,000 tweets mentioning Dubose between July 26 and August 4. In the same period, Hammond’s name was mentioned in 289 tweets.

Bland, the attorney for Hammond’s family, finds the discrepancy “very disturbing,” arguing that the life of an unarmed white teen gunned by the police is equal to the life of a black teen killed under the same sircumstances.

The Seneca police department refused to disclose an autopsy details and the name of the officer involved in shooting.

“It’s outrageous,” Bill Rogers, executive director of the South Carolina Press Association, told the Post and Courier. “The policeman is a public official. They can’t redact his name. That’s a clear violation of the law.”