Family of man shot dead by sheriff's deputy awarded $4 damages

Casey Dawson
June 3, 2018

A federal jury determined that the family of a black man killed in his home in Florida by a sheriff's deputy after being called for a noise complaint would receive only 1 percent of the $4 awarded in damages.

Newman and his partner, Deputy Edward Lopez, had reportedly knocked on Hill's garage door to investigate the noise complaint. Hill raised the door.

Hill was shot three times by an officer responding to a report of loud music.

At some point the door was closed and Newman fired his weapon four times, hitting Hill in the head once and in the abdomen twice. And after a brief encounter with the deputies, he was discovered dead inside the garage with a gun in his back pocket; the deputies said he had been holding it during their confrontation, though that claim is in dispute.

The lawsuit filed by Hill's mother in 2016 on the second anniversary of Hill's death, alleged negligence and municipal liability against Mascara.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, accused Newman of using excessive force and Sheriff Mascara of negligence in his oversight of his officers.

Finally, the jury awarded Hill's relatives $1 for funeral expenses and $1 for each of Hill's three children.

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Jurors decided that the sheriff's office was only 1 percent at fault in the death, so the $4 award was reduced to four cents.

Tests showed Hill's blood-alcohol content was 0.40, five times the driving limit.

As of recent, there is no news on if the Hill family can and/or will appeal the court's decision. The gun would've fallen out of Hill's hands, his family's attorney said.

The family's lawyer said that he feels the jury's amount was disrespectful to the case.

The family's attorney called the ruling "punitive"; Hill's family wants a new trial; his fiancée vowed to "keep fighting until I get some justice". Investigators reportedly found an unloaded gun in Hill's back pocket. The case went to trial this month, and on May 24 a jury cleared Newman, assigned a small bit of blame to Mascara and said Hill was nearly entirely at fault because he was drunk.

The attorney of a family, whose father was shot dead by police inside his own garage, can not imagine how to tell the three children the young man left behind that their "pain and suffering... is only worth a penny", he told RT. The deputies claim Hill had a gun and was told to drop; however, their claims are disputed.

"It seems like jurors gave up", she said. "We appreciate the jury's time and understanding and wish everyone involved in this case the best as they move forward". Police later claimed he'd had a gun they told him to drop - a claim never proved - and then said they'd found a gun (unloaded) in Hill's back pocket; they also determined his blood alcohol level was nearly five times the legal limit for driving, though probably pretty close to that of many people getting drunk in their garage while listening to music. "Thats the only way Im going to get peace".

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