Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans donated $11,000 to the GoFundMe page for Gregory Hill’s family.
Hill was 30 when he was shot and killed by St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputy Christopher Newman in 2014. In May of this year, a jury found Hill to be 99 percent responsible for his death, placing only 1 percent of the blame on the police department. The jury awarded $1 to each of his three children and $1 for funeral expenses. Hill’s family only received 4 cents in all, though, constituting one percent of the verdict.
Evans, 24, posted on Twitter on Saturday asking for a way to help the family out.
Twitter users were quick to point out the GoFundMe page that was setup for Hill’s family following the verdict. Evans quickly turned around and donated $11,000, pushing the fund over $100,000.
Here’s what you need to know about Mike Evans and Gregory Hill’s family:
1. Evans Asked Twitter for Help After Watching a Video About Hill’s Death
Mike Evans asked his 117,000 Twitter followers for help by retweeting a video created by media outlet AJ+ that detailed the case that resulted in the shockingly low payout to Hill’s family.
Shortly after being directed to the GoFundMe page, Evans made his $11,000 donation. He used his real name on GoFundMe, but he didn’t post about it or publicize the donation himself.
Monique Davis, Hill’s fiancee at the time of his death, posted an update on GoFundMe. “Thank you Mike Evans!” She wrote.
2. Evans’ $11,000 Donation Lines Up With Hill’s Funeral Costs
At first glance, Evans’ $11,000 donation appears to be a random amount. But it seems to be both a practical and symbolic number. Hill’s funeral costs, of which the jury award the family one cent, cost around $11,000.
Unless this was a remarkable coincidence, Evans did further research after watching the video about the incident. Either way, his gesture is both heartwarming and inspiring.
3. Hill’s Family Filed a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After His Controversial Death
Gregory Hill was killed on January 14, 2014 in his garage. Two officers responded to the Hill residence after parents called in to complain about loud and supposedly vulgar music blaring across from an elementary school. Officers Christopher Newman and Edward Lopez knocked on the front door before knocking on the garage.
According to police, when Hill raised the garage door and saw two officers standing outside, he raised and pointed a gun towards Lopez while closing the garage door. Police said he didn’t comply with orders to drop the gun, which caused Newman to fire four shots, three of which hit Hill.
A grand jury declined to prosecute Newman and Lopez despite the fact that Hill’s gun was found, unloaded, in the back pocket of his shorts, not on the ground where one would it expect it to fall if it was in his hand at the time of his death.
In 2016, Hill’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara and Newman.
An eight-member jury declared that Newman was not responsible for Hill’s death. Sheriff Mascara was declared one percent responsible, while Hill was given 99 percent responsibility. Hill was declared almost entirely responsible for his own death due to the fact that he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.40 at the time of his death. 0.40 is five-times the legal limit in the United States.
4. Each of Hill’s Three Children Received One Cent in Compensation From the Jury
Hill’s family sought between $500,000 to $10 million in compensation for the suit. Since the jury found Hill to be 99 percent responsible for his own death, Hill’s family essentially lost the suit. Yet, in a bizarre move, the jury awarded Hill’s family a total of $4. Each of Hill’s children — ages 13, 10, and 7 — received $1 and another dollar was provided for funeral expenses.
But Hill’s family didn’t even receive four bucks. Instead, accounting for the police department’s one percent responsibility, the jury gave Hill’s children one percent of the already minuscule payout. Each of Hill’s children received one cent and one cent was allocated for funeral expenses.
5. After Signing A Lucrative Contract Extension, Evans Vowed to Give Back
Evans signed a five-year extension with the Buccaneers in March worth $82 million. At the time, he spoke about his plans to give back to those in need. “It’s hard to put into words. With my actions you’ll see it.”
Evans short statement is fitting for his donation. He said nothing of his charitable donation on Twitter, but his action was seen by Hill’s family and the sports world.
This is just the latest act of good will done by Evans. In 2017, Evans and his wife Ashli started the Mike Evans Family Foundation. The foundation serves multiple purposes. First, it provides scholarships to high schoolers in financial need. It also serves as an outreach and support system for women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse.
Everyone deserves opportunity to be great. The goal of the Mike Evans Family Foundation is to support, empower, encourage and motivate today’s youth with an understanding the NO goal is unattainable. We plan to give students a chance to reach the ‘Endzone of Life’ no matter who they are or where they come from.
Evans has been outspoken about social issues. Earlier today, he tweeted at President Trump with regards to the NFL’s controversial National Anthem policy that requires players to stand or remain in the locker room.