It's official. A jury in Florida determined it. Black lives don't matter.
In January 2014, a woman picking up her kids from elementary school thought someone was playing music too loudly in their garage. She called the police to complain about the noise. Of course she did.
In the space of two minutes, the following occurred: two Port St. Lucie Sheriff's Deputies arrived at Gregory Hill's home and banged on the front door. Mr. Hill opened the garage door, saw the police, and closed the garage door. One of the Sheriff's Deputies fired his gun four times through the garage door, hitting Mr. Hill three times and killing him. Upon opening the garage door, they discovered he had an unloaded gun in his back pocket.
It's disputed whether or not, while the garage door was open, Mr. Hill had the gun in his hand, and if the Deputies told him to drop the gun.
Naturally, since Hill was Black and the Sheriff's Deputy is white, and this is Florida, the grand jury decided not to indict the Sheriff's Deputy on criminal charges, so Hill's family sued in Civil Court for damages. Because Mr. Hill was intoxicated at the time of his death, the jury took advantage of Florida law that states "if someone is intoxicated and determined to be more than 50 percent at fault, their damages are reduced to zero."
Now, the jury decided it wasn't cruel enough to simply award no damages to Mr. Hill's mother and his three young children - one of whom witnessed the entire thing. No. Not cruel enough. This Florida jury decided to award damages in the amount of FOUR DOLLARS.
You read that right. $4. $1 to Mr. Hill's mother for funeral expenses, and $1 to each of his three young children for the loss of their father. That is the symbolic amount the jury decided Gregory Hill's life was worth. The amount that would compensate his children for their pain.
You might think that was cruel enough. I mean, this is Florida, but it isn't literally Hell, right? The jury wasn't made up of twelve descendants of Caligula, were they? WRONG AGAIN!
Because the jury further determined that Mr. Hill was 99% responsible for his own murder by police, the fine citizens performing their civic duty in Port St. Lucie reduced those damages by 99%. That's right.
Four cents. One penny to his mother, and one penny each to his children, to compensate for the fact that they will never see their father again.
And then because of that above-mentioned Florida statute, the damages were reduced to $0.
Now, my brain completely shuts down when I try to wrap it around cruelty of that depth -- meanness and inhumanity beyond my understanding. So, instead, I tried to find things to buy for $4 to give you an good comparison to the value of a young Black father's life in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
To the jurors in that trial, Mr. Hill's life was as valuable as this pair of socks.
His life was worth less than the Green Power Smoothie they may have bought at their local Panera as they themselves walk around town very much still alive.
Mr. Hill's life was worth about the same amount as this box of bandaids available in the jurors' local Publix grocery store, which they might need if they had any actual blood running through their veins instead of ice.
Finally, I racked my brain to come up with something that I could purchase for $.04, which is the amount awarded the family after the jury's first reduction in damages. I tried. I really did. Then I remembered a candy store in our town sells penny candy, and I went to see what I could find. They happened to have this in their display case.
So, there is your answer. Three small children don't have their father anymore because an armed officer of the state murdered him through a garage door. But at least they can buy a pixie stick. Oh, wait. The jury reduced that amount to zero. Thaaaaat's right.
But before they did that, they wanted to make sure they inserted two intermediate steps to fully dehumanize the victim and break his family's hearts. So sorry, kids. No pixie stick for you.