In 2014, two officers with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office in Florida went to Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr.’s home for a noise complaint.
Hill, a 30-year-old black man, had been blasting an expletive-laden song by Drake, according to court testimony, and an unhappy woman who heard the song called officers to complain. The two deputies, including Christopher Newman, arrived to the house and knocked on the garage door, which Hill opened.
The officers exclaimed that the man had a gun, according to a lawsuit from Hill’s family, and so the 30-year-old closed his door. Newman fired bullets through the garage door, hitting Hill once in the head and twice in the chest.
Hill later died of those injuries.
Hill’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in 2016 after a jury didn’t indict Newman. They hoped to receive compensation for their suffering and wanted a jury to determine whether any of the deceased man’s rights had been violated, according to The New York Times.
Police say Hill brandished a handgun and refused to drop it when ordered, according to The New York Times, but his family disagrees.
A jury just handed down its decision. It led John Phillips, the family’s attorney, to issue a bold proclamation: “Black lives don’t matter.”
At first, the jury gave the man’s family $4. That includes a single dollar for each of Hill’s children — aged 7, 10 and 13 — and another dollar for the man’s funeral expenses, NBC reported.
But the jury found that Hill, who had been drinking at the time, was 99 percent at fault for his own death.
So that $4 was then reduced to just four cents.
Sheriff Ken J. Mascara praised the jury’s decision, writing “we are pleased to see this difficult and tragic incident come to a conclusion.”
“Deputy Newman was placed in a very difficult 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 wrote. “We appreciate the jury’s time and understanding.”
The two deputies did not realize they killed Hill after shooting through the garage door, according to the family’s lawsuit, and then shot tear gas canisters through windows and called the SWAT team and snipers. The family argues the tear gas destroyed much of the home.
Court documents state Hill was found dead with an unloaded handgun in his back pocket. A SWAT team first discovered that Hill was dead after using a robot to photograph the inside of the garage, The New York Times reported.
Hill’s fiancee said she isn’t going to rest until she feels justice is served.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 1st, 2018