Florida Jury Awards Four Dollars in Police Shooting of Black Father

Jury awards $4 to family of black man killed by deputy in his own garage

Gregory Hill Jr. was fatally shot by St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Newman in 2014

She walked out of the courtroom, shaken.

"My heart just dropped", Davis told NBC News. "It was like, are y'all serious?"

Jurors who awarded only 4 cents to the family of a black man fatally shot in his home by a deputy expressed confusion about the court's instructions as they struggled to reach a verdict.

A judge asked the jury to decide if Mr Hill's constitutional rights had been violated and, if so, whether his family should receive compensation. Hill's family announced Wednesday they are filing a lawsuit against the deputy and the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. "It was hard getting through there saying this is my house, I'm trying to see what's going on", Davis said.

The decision astonished the family's lawyer, John Phillips.

"That a black child's pain is only worth a dollar is exactly the problem with the plight of the African-American right now".

Which is what the family will probably get in the end.

The mother filed the lawsuit on the second anniversary of his death, alleging negligence and liability against the office of St. Lucie County, Fla., Sheriff Ken Mascara. But even that was made irrelevant by the jury's finding that Hill's intoxication made him 99 percent negligent.

Phillips said he would have preferred for the jury to have found that there was no negligence than to have found that there was and awarded such paltry damages. Last week, a federal jury delivered a verdict that baffled them.

Answers to those questions may never come. Phillips said jurors did not stay after the verdict to speak with lawyers and have not approached him since.

After receiving a noise complaint for playing his music too loudly, police officers arrived at Hill's home and wound up firing four shots at the man, Raw Story reports. Newman knocked on the garage door, and as it opened to reveal Hill standing facing out, shouted that Hill was holding a gun, the lawsuit states. A deputy then fired through the door, hitting Hill three times. A gun was recovered from the scene in Hill's back pocket, but it was unloaded. "This says Black lives don't matter", he told reporters.

In a statement posted on Facebook after the verdict, Mascara said his office was "pleased to see this hard and tragic incident come to a conclusion".

"He made the best decision he could for the safety of his partner, himself, and the public given the circumstances he faced", the sheriff's department noted in a statement noting "Deputy Newman was placed in a very hard situation".

Gregory Hill's children, from left, Destiny, Gregory III and Aryanna pose behind their father's headstone. This is a guy that's getting married in two months.

"He wasn't running the streets doing bad things", she said.

Davis wants the police to admit they did something wrong, that they reacted too quickly, and she wants them to change the way they handle such situations.

"They are heartbroken", Phillips said of the family.

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