A Florida family is devastated after a jury awarded them only $4 in damages on Thursday for funeral arrangements and pain and suffering for the fatal shooting of a Black father of three in his own garage.
Newman shot Hill, who worked at a Coca-Cola warehouse, while he and his partner, Deputy Edward Lopez, were investigating a complaint about loud, obscene music at Hill's home as students at Frances K. Sweet Magnet School, which is across the street, were being let out.
A SWAT team was called, and after clearing firing tear gas into the home and deploying a robot into the garage through a hole cut in the door, Hill was found dead inside from two gunshots to the torso and one to the head, according to TCPalm.com.
"Deputy Newman, perceiving that his life and the life of his fellow officer was in imminent danger, fired four shots at Hill", according to a court document filed by Newman's attorney.
Newman shot through the door four times, killing Hill. Police claim that he was holding the weapon during a brief confrontation, but those reports have been disputed.
The lawsuit filed by Hill's mother in 2016 on the second anniversary of Hill's death, alleged negligence and municipal liability against Mascara. "His fiancé walked out of the court room when it happened", Gregory Hill's family attorney, John Phillips, said in an interview with RT. Specifically, the sheriff's office was found to be just 1% at fault for Hill's death, so the damages ($1 for funeral expenses and $1 for each child's suffering) were reduced to 4 cents from $4. Ken Mascara, the sheriff, was found to be only 1 percent liable, given that Hill was under the influence of alcohol.
The instructions said they could award $1 in "nominal damages" to the family if Hill's injuries weren't clearly the result of unjustifiable force. The gun would've fallen out of Hill's hands, his family's attorney said.
"I think they were trying to insult the case", Phillips said of the jury.
Monique Davis, Hill's fiancee, told NBC that the decision left her feeling shocked. An unloaded gun was found in the dead man's back pocket.
"Deputy Newman was placed in a very hard situation, and like so many fellow law enforcement officers must do every day, he made the best decision he could for the safety of his partner, himself, and the public given the circumstances he faced", he said on Facebook. Last week, a federal jury delivered a verdict that baffled them. "That's the only way I'm going to get peace".
Phillips lamented that the jury sent the message that they "viewed these childrens' pain as virtually worthless".
Deputy Christopher Newman said Hill brandished a handgun when he partially opened and then closed a garage door. "We appreciate the jurys time and understanding".
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