January 1, 1993
August 1, 2016
Age at Death:
Korryn Shandawn Gaines, was from Randallstown, MD where she was employed as a hairstylist. Her father worked as a police dispatcher. Her mother was a registered nurse. She was survived by an older sister and brother. She is described as nice, smart and non violent.
Baltimore County police arrived at the Randallstown, Maryland apartment of Ms. Gaines to serve a warrant alleging that she had failed to appear in court for a traffic stop (no current license plate, resisting arrest) offense. Ms. Gaines, who had miscarried twins as a consequence of improper treatment while being held in connection with a traffic stop, had received paperwork for the stop that did not provide the date on which she was expected to appear. A month prior to the day officers descended on her home, Gaines had visited the police station seeking clarification about her court date, only to be told that the officer who had issued the paperwork was unavailable. When Ms. Gaines noticed police attempting to force entry that day in August, she sat down in her living room with a legally owned firearm, and a 6-hour standoff ensued. Ms. Gaines had a sizable online following via her activism and poetry, and narrated the sequence in real time on Facebook Live until the social media portal shut her page down per police request. No police body cam or video was used during the standoff. During the standoff, Ms. Gaines relocated to her kitchen, at which point an officer fired at Ms. Gaines from outside her apartment. The officer then entered the apartment and shot Gaines three more times. One of the bullets passed through Ms. Gaines and wounded her young son, who survived. Critics have focused on her possible mental impairment, her gun ownership, and her ideology (anti government) as reasons to explain the vulnerabilities contributing to her killing. At the time of her death, Ms. Gaines was the 9th female to be killed by police - 8 of them were armed at the time of their death.
Was justice served?
No. Based on the evidence, while Ms. Gains was not cooperating, law enforcement chose to use deadly force on a warrant for a traffic violation AND knew a small child (there were two children in the house at the time) would be at risk. One must ask why a negotiator or other means were not employed instead of deadly force. It is noteworthy that in 2018, an all female jury awarded the Gaines family $38 million in damages after finding that the first shot, fired by an officer killing Ms. Gaines, was not reasonable, and thus violated their civil rights. That verdict was overturned in February 2019 when the judge ruled that physical evidence suggested Ms. Gaines was raising her weapon when shot, thus, posing a threat to the officers. In July of 2020 a second jury reinstated the $38 million award. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland condemned the shooting, releasing a statement saying the police "decided that they needed to use deadly force to execute that warrant, and needed to expose themselves to the known risk of deadly force being used on them, knowing that a five year old child might be in the line of fire". Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Korryn_Gaines and https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-1-a-mothers-nightmare-the-life-and-death-of-korryn-gaines/id1441348908?i=1000428972641