After four years of deliberation, a Florida jury awards the family of a man murdered by a sheriff deputy $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. After a short exchange with the deputies, the 30-year-old black man was shot to death by Deputy Christopher Newman. This in conjunction with the fact Hill was intoxicated at his residence along with claims he was holding a gun in dispute, led his family to file a wrongful death suit against the department for killing the father of three.
However, on Wednesday (May 30) it was reported that a jury deduced that Newman did not use any excessive force, but his boss, Sheriff Ken Mascara, might have been “slightly negligent” when corresponding with Newman. Because of this, the family was given a symbolic $4: a dollar for the funeral and $1 for the emotional damage each of his children may have experienced since their father’s murder. And if this wasn’t demeaning enough, because Hill was deemed drunk and the instigator in the situation, the jury ruled that the Sheriff’s office only played one percent in Hill’s death so the $4 award was reduced to just four cents which a lawyer for the family says will be further depleted to nothing.
Through a Facebook post one of the defendants, Sheriff Mascara, detailed how relieved he was with the jury’s decision, stating he is “pleased to see this difficult and tragic incident come to a conclusion.”
On the other hand, Hill’s fiancée, Monique Davis, was devastated by the verdict, saying “It’s heartbreaking. There are a lot of questions I want to ask.” The family lawyer, John M. Phillips, could only express his disbelief in a sum of words that captures the bewilderment of many who are privy to this story.
“I don’t get it,” Phillips said plainly.
As of recent, there is no news on if the Hill family can and/or will appeal the court’s decision.