Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans donated $11,000 to a family of Gregory Hill, which received just $4 from a jury award in a lawsuit over Hill’s shooting death by a police officer.
Hill was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in his own garage in Florida in 2014. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and the jury awarded them one dollar toward funeral expenses and another for each of Hill’s children, for a total of $4.
The family’s attorney said the verdict was meant to “punish” the family.
This week, Evans came across Hill’s story on Twitter and asked his followers where he could donate to Hill’s family.
He later contributed $11,000 to a GoFundMe campaign for the family, bringing the total raised to more than $102,000 of a $150,000 goal, according to CBS News.
Several District residents have also began to contribute.
“This story saddens me. But instead of getting angry I thought what can I do to help,” said Mykia Williams. “Because we can curse police all day and it won’t change your situation. This is definitely a way to get back.”
After digging deep into his wallet, Chris Lowry said he wanted to do more.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t afford more,” he wrote to the family on the GoFundMe crowdfunding page. “Your family was denied justice, but I hope this GoFundMe helps ease the pain a bit, and if nothing else, shows you there are still good people in the world that care.”
The jury ruled in May that St. Lucie County Deputy Christopher Newman did not violate Hill’s civil rights, placing the bulk of the blame — 99 percent — on Hill.
It found Sheriff Ken Mascara one percent liable for the killing.
Newman shot and killed Hill, a 30-year-old father of three children, in January 2014 after two officers responded to a complaint that Hill was playing loud music at the family’s home.
The sheriff’s office said Hill, a Coca-Cola warehouse employee, was drunk and carrying a gun when deputies got to the home.
Newman testified that he fired his handgun four times through the closed garage door after seeing Hill with a gun.
A single bullet fatally struck Hill’s head. An unloaded gun was later found in his back pocket.
John Phillips, who represented Hill’s three children in the case against the sheriff’s office, said the family plans to appeal the verdict.
“Some jurors were determined to punish the family for being in court,” Phillips told CBS News in June.
The family had been asking for anywhere from $500,000 to $10 million, including just over $11,000 for funeral expenses. They only received 4 cents, or 1 percent of the jury verdict, in the civil lawsuit.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that Newman was “placed in a very difficult situation” and “made the best decision he could for the safety of his partner, himself, and the public given the circumstances he faced.”
Still, many such Evans, Williams and Lowry aren’t buying that.
“This can happen to anyone. The death of this man and his blood are on the hands of the cops that killed him,” said Narek Oganyan. “Turning a blind eye only makes us just as guilty as the killers. This senseless killings by our supposed protectors need to stop.”
To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/justice-for-gregory-hill.