The Seneca City Council voted Thursday to offer a settlement to the family of a teen shot and killed by a police officer during an attempted drug sting last summer.
The $250,000 settlement would not end all legal claims by the parents of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, but it would prevent them from seeking city-owned property or assets. The council voted unanimously for the settlement after a closed-door meeting.
Town officials did not comment on the lawsuit after the meeting. “Seneca’s City Council merely voted to approve a payment that might resolve part of the litigation,” a statement issued by both sides in the lawsuit said. “No overall agreement has been reached.” A judge must also approve the settlement offer.
Hammond was killed by a Seneca police officer during a July 2015 drug sting. Lt. Mark Tiller said he fired in self-defense after the unarmed Hammond drove towards him in an attempt to flee the stop. Seneca’s police chief said officers had set up an undercover operation to buy marijuana from Hammond’s female passenger. Dashcam video released last fall seems to verify that Hammond was driving towards the officer in an effort to escape, although Hammond’s family disputes that Tiller’s life was ever in danger.
10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams decided not to proceed against Tiller after reviewing the video and the results of an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division. Hammond’s parents filed a civil lawsuit against Tiller, the Seneca Police Department and Police Chief John Covington last year.