The mother of Zachary Hammond says Gov. Nikki Haley has agreed to meet with her and her husband.
Angie Hammond wrote a personal letter to Gov. Haley about the death of her son.
Zachary Hammond was killed at the hands of a Seneca Police Officer back in July.
In the letter she is asking that Gov. Haley sit down with her and watch the video of her son’s death.
Read the full letter here:
November 29, 2015
AN OPEN LETTER FROM ONE SOUTH CAROLINA MOTHER TO ANOTHER.
TO THE HONORABLE NIKKI R. HALEY
GOVERNOR, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
You have been quoted as saying that, “as Governor, it is your first and primary duty to ensure the safety of all the citizens of South Carolina.” In light of that statement, I watched televised reports during the recent flooding in our state that you and your staff confronted with compassion and precision on behalf of those citizens affected so tragically, many with the loss of their homes and every single belonging.
On another occasion, back in April of this year, you asked all of us in our great state to lift up in prayer the family of Walter Scott after the tragic shooting of Scott by a police officer in North Charleston. Again, your compassion for the welfare and safety of all citizens of the Palmetto State led you to say that what happened in the Scott case was not reflective of our values. You asked us to remember that it was about the life of Walter Scott, and rightfully so. You also said that we all have a responsibility to make our communities safer and to prevent, as best we can, another such tragedy in our state going forward.
And in June of this year, the world watched as you choked up and fought back tears as you discussed the killing of Rev. Pinckney and eight others while at a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. You said that “we woke up this morning and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken.” You even posted on your Facebook page that “Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and the families touched by the senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME church.” And you pleaded with your fellow South Carolina citizens to join you, your husband, your daughter and your son “in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”
As witnesses to these events, it certainly seemed that you embodied the spirit of a caring and compassionate leader of our state. However, in your words, my family’s heart and soul are broken because of another senseless killing, and worse still, it seems that you as governor, the attorney general, the local solicitor, and very few in our state government cares. As I wrote you back in September, my son, Zachary Hammond, was tragically gunned down by an out-of-control, poorly trained, enraged police officer on the night of July 26,
2015. What hurts us to the very core of our soul is that our Governor, who has said publicly that her first and primary duty is to ensure the safety of the citizens of South Carolina, has chosen not to respond to our pleas for help, or even to acknowledge receiving my letter.
The citizens of our state will never be safe until YOU decide that an officer should not be allowed to carry a gun and badge, but dressed in a paramilitary green suit, with no identification, either verbally or visually, while chasing the car on foot to make good on his promise to blow the boy’s (expletive deleted) off. To shoot and kill an unarmed fleeing teenager in the back without EVEN knowing the teen’s identity is morally reprehensive.
The citizens of our state will never be safe until YOU decide that an officer puts himself in harm’s way, if there ever was any, by disregarding all police policies and procedures and running to the open driver’s side window and firing two bullets into a 19-year-old teenager and killing him on the spot, while claiming that he felt his own life was in danger as the boy made the mistake of trying to leave the scene of a botched drug sting in which the boy was NOT the target.
The citizens of our state will never be safe while the State Law Enforcement Agency and the Solicitor are allowed to withhold the dash-cam video for THREE months, after which the Solicitor admits the video is ‘in itself troubling,’ but decides the officer should not have to face any charges due to her belief that she would be unable to secure a conviction. Since when has her won-loss record become more important than the life of a citizen of our state?
The scenario in Seneca in the back parking lot of Hardee’s is the same as in North Charleston. Both suspects were unarmed and fleeing. Both were shot from behind and killed. Both officers said they shot in self-defense. BOTH OFFICERS LIED. The Seneca officer was running alongside my son’s car, and only after killing my son, did he come up with self defense theory. The officer in North Charleston was charged with murder; the officer in Seneca was not and even inexplicably placed on paid administrative leave. In my son’s case, the police chief even presented a spotless departmental file on the officer in question; knowing all the while that evidence would be presented that proved several instances of misconduct in office by the officer, as well as his own.
As governor, you’ve been very vocal and tearful about senseless and tragic uses of excessive deadly force, such as in North Charleston and at the church in Charleston. But from one South Carolina mother to another, if this had been your son, would you still have been as eerily silent as you have about my son’s murder. Does his life not matter just
because of his past mistakes? Would you not personally oversee the right of every citizen of this state to arrest and trial by judge and jury? My son Zachary Hammond was executed on the spot by an officer sworn to uphold his rights. Does this not bother you at all?
I am publicly asking you to please sit down with me and watch the video of my son’s murder by a cop, and see if you can tell me and the citizens of this state that in your heart, you believe that my son’s life, even with mistakes, didn’t matter. I want to see you tearful and choked up about this citizen of your state whose life was also cut short by excessive deadly force. As Governor-to-Citizen and Mother-to-Mother, I want to know if the care and compassion you’ve exhibited in other cases will bring you to denounce the conduct of this officer and take appropriate action.
I realize there are many dedicated and conscientious law enforcement officers across our state who have my respect and admiration. This is not an indictment of them; only of one mad cop, so mad at my son for trying to leave the scene, that he was no longer in control of his mind and actions, which led him to violate a Higher Law found in Exodus 20:13.
I trust I will hear from you at your very earliest convenience.
Mother of Zachary Hammond and Citizen of South Carolina.