Florida deputy who killed man found not liable, family awarded $4

According to the New York Times, Gregory Vaughn Hill, Jr. was at home listening to music in his garage when the St. Lucie County Sheriff's department was called to his residency due to the volume of his music.

Hill, a 30-year-old African-American, was fatally shot by a white sheriffs deputy who had responded to a noise complaint about music Hill had been playing in his garage.

"I'm going to keep fighting until I get some justice", she told The New York Times. The jurors found Hill mostly at fault because he was intoxicated at the time of his death and believe Deputy Newman did not use excessive force, even though Newman shot through Hill's garage door four times, striking him in the head and abdomen. This prompted Newman to fire his gun four times, hitting Hill three times. When they arrived at the place, they saw the garage door was closed.

Hill was found with an unloaded handgun in his back pocket, and toxicology reports found his blood-alcohol level to be almost five times the legal limit to drive, TCPalm.com also reported. When the garage door eventually opened, Hill was standing by it with his left hand on the door and his right hand by his side. Deputy Christopher Newman, who shot Hill, was found not liable. Newman, he added, "was placed in a very hard situation, and like so many law enforcement officers must do every day, he made the best decision he could given the circumstances he faced".

Hill's family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in 2016 after a jury didn't indict Newman.

Attorney John Phillips, who represents Hill's family, called the ruling "perplexing" and questioned why the jury would award $1 for $11,000 in funeral expenses and $1 for children who will never see their father again.

"The jury smiled, cried and showed anger during the trial".

"I think they were trying to insult the case", Mr. Phillips said of the jury board.

The bullet from the first shot got stuck in the door, Phillips said.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to indicate the Hill family was awarded $4. After almost two weeks of trial and 10 hours of deliberation last month, a jury sided with police and found that Newman did nothing wrong.

The judge replied that she did not understand, and asked them to clarify.

A jury just handed down its decision. However, they were told to go back and continue their deliberation.

The jurors agreed. In doing so, they decided that USD$1 should be awarded to Hill's mother for funeral expenses and USD$1 to each of his three children, according to the BBC.

Jurors found that Hill was 99 percent liable for the incident, which would reduce the award to 4 cents under Florida's comparative negligence law.

"A slap win the face, like how can you value someone life at $4".

Phillips said he's baffled.

He said he is drafting a motion for a new trial and if that's denied then he would begin the appeals process.

  • Rogelio Becker