A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family of a black man shot dead by police whose three children were awarded $1 each in damages by a Florida jury.
The family of Gregory Hill, 30, filed a wrongful death suit after he was shot to death by Christopher Newman, a white sheriff’s deputy, on January 14, 2014 at his home in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The fatal shootings of African-American suspects in recent years have fueled a nationwide debate over race and criminal justice in the United States.
A jury last week decided that the sheriff’s office had been negligent and awarded $1 in damages to Hill’s mother for funeral expenses and $1 to each of his three children.
But the amount of negligence was pegged at just one percent with Hill found to be 99 percent at fault.
The jury award was consequently reduced to just four cents and a judge is expected to reduce the amount to zero.
John Phillips, the family’s lawyer, said Hill was “minding his business” listening to music in his garage when police arrived, responding to a noise complaint.
“Police shot through his closed garage door.”
Hill was intoxicated at the time of the incident. An unloaded gun was found in his back pocket.
Phillips said he planned to appeal the verdict and urged people on Twitter to donate to the Hill family.
“We challenge America to do better than the jury for Gregory Hill’s three children,” Phillips said. “Even a symbolic $4 would mean so much.”
As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised $14,539 towards its goal of $75,000.
Following the May 24 verdict, Sheriff Ken Mascara of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said he was “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 said.
“We appreciate the jury’s time and understanding and wish everyone involved in this case the best as they move forward.”