The jury argued that Gregory Hill was responsible for his own death, so the award was later reduced to 4 cents.
On January 14, 2014, Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr., a 30-year-old black father of three, was fatally shot by a white sheriff’s deputy in St. Lucie County, Florida. The deputy was responding to a noise complaint about music coming from Hill’s garage.
Four years later, a federal jury has determined that Hill was largely responsible for his own death, awarding the man’s family just $4 in a wrongful death lawsuit.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Hill’s fiancée, Monique Davis, told the New York Times. “There are a lot of questions I want to ask.”
The decision is the culmination of a two year legal battle for the family. Officers have claimed that Hill was armed at the time of the shooting; while a gun was recovered from the scene, it was found unloaded in Hill’s back pocket. In 2016, Hill’s mother, Viola Bryant, filed a lawsuit arguing that the deputy had violated Hill’s constitutional rights. The New York Times notes that the case also asked the jury to determine if the family was owed damages and if so, what amount they should receive.
The jury determined that $4 — $1 to Hill’s mother for funeral expenses and $1 for each of Hill’s three children — would be enough. The decision came after hours of jury deliberations, and the amount was so small because the jury ruled that Hill, who was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, was mostly responsible for his death.
While the jury ruled that the deputy who shot Hill did not use excessive force, it