How did Zachary Hammond really die and why is no one concerned?

What do Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Zachary Hammond have in common? They all died or were killed under questionable circumstances after run-ins with police. However, for Zachary Hammond this is where the similarity stops because Hammond is the only one on this short list of deceased American citizens who was white.
While the recent deaths of these and other African-American men and women have led to nationwide outcries and demonstrations over police use of excessive force, the death of this young white man has scarcely earned a few paragraphs in local newspapers and warranted barely a peep from large media outlets yet the story surrounding the death of 19-year-old Hammond is even more questionable than the official narratives on how these others died.
Hammond was shot and killed in Seneca, South Carolina on July 26 by police who were reportedly conducting a drug bust on Hammond’s new girlfriend. According to official accounts, Hammond allegedly attempted to accelerate the vehicle he was driving toward police as officers approached to make the arrest causing one officer, Lt. Mark Tiller, to fire two shots into him.
Authorities are investigating but have tentatively ruled the shooting as justified. Additionally, the official autopsy report said his wounds were consistent with the police account of how the shooting occurred. However, a second independent autopsy disputes the official findings, stating that the youth’s injuries, including what is believed to be the fatal wound were inflicted from the side and behind–a direct contradiction of the official story.
This revelation alone should have at least raised eyebrows as to how a young man who was apparently not even the target of the botched drug bust, which allegedly netted only a small amount of marijuana from the passenger, ended up shot to death by police. So far, there has not been much continuing media coverage and public protests as we saw with previous police shootings involving African-Americans. But why? Wasn’t Zachary Hammond someone’s loved one? Why does it seem like no one cares about his death?
To add insult to injury, authorities refuse to release dashcam footage of the encounter. Even this lack of police transparency has not spurred even the slightest thing resembling the mass demonstrations following the deaths of those such as Michael Brown who was also a youth of only 18 years when he was killed in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. The officer, Darren Wilson was subsequently cleared of wrongdoing.
While we see movements like #BlackLivesMatter rallying people to the cause of police brutality among African-Americans, where are those who will speak for Zachary Hammond? Indeed, where are the mass demonstrations and outrage?
There is no lengthy criminal history for the media to outline on Hammond or anything that can be used to smear his name or justify what happened to him as there was in several of the high-profile African-American incidents other than possibly Hammond might have exercised better judgment over his choice of dates, so what is the response to this possible miscarriage of justice? Silence; a deafening, nearly all-encompassing silence.
Had this been the era of “Jim Crow” and Hammond were black, the silence surrounding his death would be understandable as this was most certainly a time when black lives did not matter. But Hammond was a white teen who lived in modern times yet his obviously questionable death has had virtually zero effect on the national stage.
How strange it is to see such a shift in public opinion over the death of an apparent innocent and a white one at that. Why doesn’t this life seem to be worth as much as those of the others? Is it possible that African-Americans, with their long history of mistreatment at the hands of crooked police, have gathered the fortitude to call out the corruption and wanton violence visited upon them whereas their white counterparts lack the will to do the same? Or is it something else altogether?
Perhaps white America is having difficulty coming to grips with the fact that we are all now in the grip of a system that produces increasingly aggressive, militarized police, some of whom target anyone they deem as a “soft” target. Maybe white America is in denial that what was once “those people’s” problem has now become theirs as well.
Another question is where are all the black Americans right now? Why haven’t they come together in unity on behalf of this lost life? Or does the death of this white kid mean as little to them as the lives of blacks did to whites in eras gone by?
This in itself is very telling about the schism that exists between races in America today. But why does everything have to equate with race? Have we not already been down this well-traversed road too many times before?


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