Family of a black man shot dead by police officer was awarded $4 in damages by a Florida jury.
Gregory Hill’s family filed a wrongful death suit after he was shot to death by Christopher Newman, a white sheriff’s deputy, on January 14, 2014 at his home in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The brutal shootings of African-American suspects in recent years have fueled a nationwide debate over race and criminal justice in the United States.
A jury last week decided that the sheriff’s office had been negligent and awarded $1 in damages to Hill’s mother for funeral expenses and $1 to each of his three children.
But the amount of negligence was pegged at just one percent with Hill found to be 99 percent at fault.
The jury award was consequently reduced to just four cents and a judge is expected to reduce the amount to zero.
John Phillips, the family’s lawyer, said Hill was “minding his business” listening to music in his garage when police arrived, responding to a noise complaint.
“Police arrived and spent less than 60 seconds on his property,” Phillips said on Twitter. “(Hill) opened and closed his garage door deescalating the situation.
“Police shot through his closed garage door.”
The 30-year-old was intoxicated at the time of the incident. An unloaded gun was found in his back pocket.
Phillips said he planned to appeal the verdict and urged people on Twitter to donate to the Hill family.
“We challenge America to do better than the jury for Gregory Hill’s three children,” Phillips said. “Even a symbolic $4 would mean so much.”
As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised $14,539 towards its goal of $75,000.
After the May 24 verdict, Sheriff Ken Mascara of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said he was “pleased to see this tragic incident come to conclusion.
“Deputy Newman was placed in a very difficult situation and like so many fellow law enforcement officers must do to everyday, he made the best decision he could for safety of his partners, himself and the public given the circumstances he faced,” he said.
“We appreciate the jury’s time and understanding and wish everyone involved in this case the best as they move forward.”