19-year-old Zachary Hammond has become a trending topic in the news cycle because he’s the latest notable, unarmed teenage male to be inexplicably shot and killed by cops. And because the South Carolina teen was white.
The media has used the case to latch on to the “AllLivesMatter” to show that it’s not just black teens being killed by our cops, and that it’s a more universal problem. That’s clearly important, but perhaps most revolting–or at least most relevant for our topic of choice–the murder was all over the purchase of a $50 bag of marijuana.
Here’s the case in a nutshell: Zachary Hammond drove to a parking lot with a 23-year-old female friend to buy some weed. Unbeknown to the duo, they (specifically, his passenger) were purchasing weed from an undercover cop in a sting operation because cops in South Carolina have nothing better to do than chase down 19-year-olds buying weed.
The undercover cop exited his car then took out his gun as he approached Hammond, which is apparently standard protocol in a “narcotics investigation.” Like anyone in his position, Hammond panicked and tried to drive the car away.
The cop then shot his gun twice and killed Hammond.
According to the cop’s story, Hammond drove directly at the cop so he shot his gun twice in self-defense, so the shots struck him head on. According to Hammond’s attorney and an autopsy, the shots fired clearly came from a side angle, thus disproving the theory that he drove directly at a cop.
Either way, Hammond was clearly shot at point-blank range by a cop over a tiny amount of marijuana. Whether or not the shots came from the front or the back–or if Hammond drove at the cop–shouldn’t be the focus of this tragedy.
What should be the focus of this tragedy–along with ignorant police brutality–is why cops in South Carolina are using their time to go after teenagers looking to get high. With weed medically legal in nearly half the nation and full-on legal in four states, it feels outrageous that cops, even in South Carolina, are still spending time persecuting very minor marijuana “offenders.”
And we shouldn’t stand for it.
— Rookie Of The Year (@mericanViolence) August 4, 2015