Jury awards 4 cents to estate of black man killed by Florida deputy

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The family of a black man who was killed by a Florida deputy is baffled after a jury awarded them four cents as compensation for his death.

Jurors in Fort Pierce determined last week that St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy Christopher Newman had not used excessive force when he shot Gregory Hill three times during a confrontation in 2014, and that Sheriff Ken Mascara had been a bit negligent, according to The New York Times.

The jurors determined that Hill was 99 percent responsible for his death because he was drunk when he was shot by Newman who was responding to a noise complaint.

The estate was awarded $4, but the family would only get one percent of that. John Phillips, the family’s lawyer, told The New York Times that a judge would reduce the award to nothing because of the jury’s ruling.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Hill’s fiancée, Monique Davis, told the newspaper. “There are a lot of questions I want to ask.”

The incident occurred in January 2014 after one of Hill’s neighbors heard loud music coming from his garage. Newman and Deputy Edward Lopez responded and when Hill opened the door, police said Hill was holding a gun and was ordered to drop it, according to The New York Times.

At some point the door was closed and Newman fired his weapon four times, hitting Hill in the head once and in the abdomen twice. A SWAT team eventually opened the door to find Hill dead. A gun was found in Hill’s back pocket but it wasn’t loaded.

Jurors failed to reach a consensus in the hours before the verdict. Phillips told the newspaper that some jurors appeared “incensed.”

“It seems like jurors gave up,” Phillips said.

Mascara said in a statement posted on his department’s Facebook page that he was “pleased” to see the incident come to an end.

“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,” Mascara said. “We appreciate the jury’s time and understanding and wish everyone involved in this case the best as they move forward.”

The Associated Pres contributed to this report.