The family of a Florida black man who was fatally shot by police through a garage door in his own house was awarded just four cents in compensation for the loss of his life.
The New York Times reports that the family of Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr. was originally awarded $4 in compensation by a jury this week, although that was then knocked down to just four cents on the grounds that the Lucie County Sheriff’s Office was “only 1 percent at fault in the death.”
The shooting of Hill occurred back in January 2014, when sheriff’s deputies responded to a noise complaint from one of Hill’s neighbors about Hill loudly playing music in his garage.
According to the accounts of the two deputies, Hill was intoxicated when they opened up his garage door. The officers also claim that Hill was pointing a gun at them during their encounter.
However, the facts surrounding the shooting paint a very murky picture.
For one, even if Hill were initially pointing a gun at the officers, he was not doing so at the time he was fatally shot, as investigators eventually found a gun in his back pocket while they were searching his body.
Second, the shooting of Hill only occurred after the garage door had been closed back up again after police initially opened it to confront Hill. One of the deputies fired his weapon through the garage door four times, and struck Hill twice in the abdomen and once in the head.
Third, the officers said they didn’t even realize that Hill was dead or injured after they fired four shots into the garage — they only learned of his death after they called a SWAT team, which found Hill lying lifelessly in the garage, for backup.
John M. Phillips, the family’s attorney, tells the New York Times that he would have rather the jury given the family nothing at all instead of the insultingly low compensation for Hill’s death.
“Why go there with the $1?” he asked. “That was the hurtful part.”