Isaiah Hammett Event to Commemorate One-Year Anniversary of SWAT Team Raid


Isaiah Hammett (left) with mother, Gina Torres, and friend Julian Cobb. - PHOTO COURTESY JULIAN COBB
  • Photo courtesy Julian Cobb
  • Isaiah Hammett (left) with mother, Gina Torres, and friend Julian Cobb.
Thursday, June 7 marks one year since Isaiah Hammett was killed by St. Louis city police officers inside a home in south St. Louis.

On June 7, 2017, eight SWAT team members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department stormed the house Hammett's home.

The Riverfront Times reported on the deadly incident the day it occurred. At the time, acting police chief Lt. Colonel Lawrence O'Toole alleged that Hammett opened fire on the SWAT team with a high-powered rifle. O’Toole also said that the officers shot back at Hammett, who suffered wounds that ended up killing him. None of the SWAT team members were injured.

Yet Hammett's family and its allies in the city's protest movement have questioned the official narrative.

According to a group called the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression (CAPCR), a forensic report did not find any evidence that Hammett fired any of the more than 100 rounds fired at the scene.

Hammett, who was 21 at the time of his death, was being investigated for selling drugs and weapons out of a house in south St. Louis, police have said. But police have been vague about what they found in their raid, saying only there was "a quantity of marijuana." Hammett's only criminal record was for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana.

In memory of Hammett’s death, the coalition is holding an event on Thursday, June 7 at 10 a.m. to publicize what members describe as a lack of justice for Hammett’s family. They'll also talk about opportunities for community engagement and other police murders in the area, not just Hammett’s.

The event is set to begin on the Tucker side of St. Louis City Hall, 1200 Market Street. John Chasnoff, co-chairman of the coalition, is expected to speak at the event, as well as Missouri Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. (D-St. Louis) and Isaiah Hammett’s mother, Gina Torres. Family members of other men killed by St. Louis police are also set to speak at the event: Toni Taylor, mother of Cary Ball Jr., and Bridgette Perkins, mother of Isaiah Perkins. The two men were killed by St. Louis police in 2013 and 2017, respectively.

More than 300 people, including a large group of protesters who were then marching daily in the streets in response to former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley's acquittal for murder, attended Hammett's funeral in October.

For more about the memorial, visit CAPCR’s Facebook event.

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