Jury awards US family $4 in police killing

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Miami, June 1 (IANS) A jury awarded a Florida-based family $4 in damages for funeral expenses in a case in which a police official fatally shot a father of three through his garage door, the family’s attorney said Thursday.

Deputy Christopher Newman killed Gregory Hill Jr., 30, in 2014 after a mother picking up her child at a school across the street called in a noise complaint, reports CNN.

Newman and another deputy responded to Hill’s home. Hill partially opened the garage door, closed it and Newman fired four times, hitting Hill three times, including once in the head, according to court and police records.

No charges were filed against Newman, who said he shot Hill because he brandished a handgun.

Hill’s mother, Viola Bryant, filed a lawsuit against Newman and Sheriff Ken Mascara, alleging wrongful death, negligence, excessive force and violations of Hill’s 14th and 15th Amendment rights.

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Bryant also accused a SWAT team that responded to the scene of firing so much tear gas and causing so much damage to Hill’s one-storey home that no one can live in it now.

After 10 hours of deliberation last week, a jury found that Newman was not liable in Hill’s death and that Mascara was 1 per cent liable, CNN reported.

Hill was 99 per cent responsible for his own death, the jury ruled, according to court documents.

In deciding damages in the case, the jury awarded Bryant $1 for funeral expenses, and $1 for each child’s “loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and … mental pain and suffering”, verdict forms show.

Attorney John Phillips, who represents Hill’s family, called the ruling “perplexing” and questioned why the jury would award $1 for $11,000 in funeral expenses and another dollar for each child’s suffering when it could have simply awarded no damages.

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–IANS

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