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Gun used by Hammett, police say

St. Louis police detective Rob Skaggs holds an AK-47 rifle police say was used by Isaiah Hammett to fire shots at SWAT officers serving a search warrant at his South Kingshighway home on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Officers returned fire and killed Hammett. Photo by Joe Holleman,

As we near the Aug. 9 anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, St. Louis needs to address its lack of progress regarding police militarization and accountability. The slaying of Isaiah Hammett is a case in point.

Isaiah, 21, lived with and cared for his disabled grandfather, a Vietnam veteran.

On June 7, a police SWAT team raided Isaiah’s house. Isaiah was dead within minutes. Police did not produce a search warrant for six hours after their entry into the home.

Police claim Isaiah fired an AK-47 at them. The family claims the gun, which was legally purchased, did not work.

An independent forensic expert found no evidence guns were fired toward police. Bullet holes on the floor show police fired at Isaiah after he was already down.

His grandfather states Isaiah retreated to the grandfather’s room and got the disabled man onto the floor to protect him from oncoming fire. Isaiah told his grandfather he didn’t know who was attacking their home.

Isaiah’s grandfather states Isaiah had no gun while in the bedroom or when he left it. He was shot immediately thereafter.

Our society has normalized militarized police actions such as SWAT raids when we should be questioning not only their legitimacy but their execution.

There is an urgent need for a fair and impartial investigation from the St. Louis circuit attorney, the city’s Civilian Oversight Board and the Department of Justice. Justice for Isaiah is justice for all of us.

Susie Chasnoff • University City