Tony Webster / CC BY 2.0

Police Shoot, Kill White SC Teen. Where's The Outrage?

Some are asking why the police shooting death of a white teenager in South Carolina hasn't garnered attention like the deaths of black men.

By Christian Bryant | August 6, 2015

The story sounds familiar: an unarmed person is shot and killed by a police officer. But a shooting in South Carolina has gotten much less attention than others like it, kicking off another discussion about race and outrage over policing. 

A South Carolina police officer shot and killed 19-year-old Zachary Hammond through Hammond's car window in a parking lot in Seneca — southeast of Greenville. Seneca police say Hammond was selling weed to an undercover officer when at least one other officer showed up. (Video via WHNS

This is where the story gets fuzzy: authorities say Hammond tried to run over the officer who eventually shot and killed him. But an independent autopsy goes against that claim. The results show Hammond was shot from behind. (Video via WSPA)

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Police use of force against unarmed people is a well-worn topic, but Hammond's case is different: Hammond is white and his shooting death hasn't kicked off protests or marches in Seneca. But it has caused a dispute online. 

Some users of the #AllLivesMatter hashtag believe Hammond's story hasn't been picked up by media outlets because of his race. Many tweeters using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag have called the All Lives Matter movement hypocritical for being a loud foil when black people have died at the hands of police but oddly quiet in Hammond's case. 

Race issues obviously play a role in the dispute, but a journalism professor told the Los Angeles Times that blaming the lack of mainstream coverage of Hammond's story on race alone oversimplifies the matter. (Video via HuffPost Live

Meredith Clark says the fact that there's no dashcam or body cam video of the shooting for the public to scrutinize over and over. And, unlike other police forces, Clark said"We haven’t heard of prior complaints about the police force where he was." (Video via WCPO)

And a Huffington Post writer says Hammond's own community is setting the trend, pointing to the lack of demonstrations calling for justice for the dead teen.

Social media users from opposing corners of the Internet have begun posting messages about Hammond under the hashtag #ZacharyHammond so that his death and the issue of police reform aren't lost in disputes. 

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