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'Are y'all serious?' Jury gives 4 cents to family of black man killed by Florida cop

A jury gave the family of Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr., a black man killed by St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputy Christopher Newman, just four cents after they found he was 99 percent negligent in his death. Newman shot Hill, accused of brandishing a handgun, through a garage door.
A jury gave the family of Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr., a black man killed by St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputy Christopher Newman, just four cents after they found he was 99 percent negligent in his death. Newman shot Hill, accused of brandishing a handgun, through a garage door. Screenshot from CBS 48 Hours Twitter

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 reviewed by CNN, 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, a father of three, 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.

Monique Davis, the fiancee of Hill, told NBC that the decision left her feeling shocked.

"My heart just dropped," she said.. "It was like, are y'all serious?"

Phillips lamented that the jury sent the message that they "viewed these childrens' pain as virtually worthless."

"I'd have rather seen a zero," he told NBC, "than have to tell the children that their pain and suffering for losing their father is only a dollar."

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 allege 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.

“I’m going to keep fighting until I get some justice,” she told The New York Times. “That’s the only way I’m going to get peace.”

Black Lives Matter activists held a protest at the North Miami Police Department on Thursday, July 21, 2016 in reaction to the shooting of unarmed mental healthcare worker Charles Kinsey.

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