8 person jury consisted of seven whites and one token. From [ABA] Mostly white Florida jurors awarded $4 last week to the family of a black man shot and killed in his garage by police who were called to the home to investigate a noise complaint.
The $4 award to the family of the slain man, Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr. of Fort Pierce, consisted of $1 for funeral expenses, and $1 each to his three children, report the New York Times, TCPalm.com, News3, Fox2Now and CNN.
Police were called because of a complaint about loud, obscene music [acdc?] coming from the home as students were being let out of elementary school. Police encountered Hill in his garage and said he was holding a gun. As the garage door began to close, the white officer fired four times. Deputy Newman struck Mr. Hill once in the once in the head and twice in the abdomen. The entire episode took less than two minutes.
Lawyers have argued about whether it was possible for Mr. Hill to have moved the gun to his pocket after the garage door closed. That is, he supposedly pulled down a 100lb garage door with one hand and aimed at them with another hand? His lawyer said "the door completely separated him from the police officers. He was in the curtails of his own home fully."
A SWAT team called to the home cut a hole in the garage door and sent a robot to investigate. Hill was dead. An unloaded gun was in Hill’s back pocket. He was licensed to carry said firearm.
Jurors found the officer who fired the gun did not use excessive force, but St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara was 1 percent negligent.
Jurors found that Hill was 99 percent liable for the incident, which would reduce the award to 4 cents under Florida’s comparative negligence law. But family members will receive nothing because of another Florida law that bars any recovery for plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent at fault due to intoxication.
Hill had a blood alcohol level of nearly 0.40 percent. [for real, this is nearly coma level, which would mean he would have been barely able to stand upright if true - and certainly unable to pull down a 100lb garage door with one hand.]
The sheriff's office made this statement in January 2014.
"(Deputies) knocked on the garage door.. as the garage door opened they saw a black male holding a handgun at his right side," Sheriff Ken Mascara [in photo] said, "the male raised the gun towards the deputies a she simultaneously pulled the garage door down."
"Any gun owner can have a gun at your home, but when law enforcement is doing their duty and they ask you to drop that gun and give you an order to drop that gun-- the last thing anyone should do is raise that gun," Sheriff Mascara said in 2014.
According to Sheriff Mascara, deputies found that Mr. Hill at the time of the incident was in possession of a black Kel-Tec 9-millimeter handgun.
Sheriff Mascara said that Deputy Christopher Newman fired his weapon four times at Mr. Hill. During the time immediately following the confrontation between deputies and Mr. Hill, deputies believed that Mr. Hill had barricaded himself in the home with a minor child, and members of the Sheriff's Crisis Negotiation Team made numerous attempts to contact Mr. Hill's cell phone without success. Detectives later determined that the child was not in the home at the time of the incident or afterward. Following the confrontation, detectives obtained a search warrant for the home. During the search of the home, Mr. Hill's cell phone was located in the kitchen and was not near him." [MORE]
The lawyer for Hill’s family, John Phillips, told News 3 he found the verdict “perplexing,” but court rules prevent him from questioning jurors to learn more. The jury consisted of one black man, two white men and five white women.
“That a black child’s pain is only worth a dollar is exactly the problem with the plight of the African American right now. This says, black lives don’t matter,” he told News 3.
Phillips plans an appeal. One issue will be the “evasiveness” of a police expert who claimed to be hard of hearing during Phillips’ questions. Another issue is conflicting police testimony about the gun, he said. Phillips also says the defense improperly mentioned that Hill was on probation for drug possession.