Family Of Korryn Gaines, Shot Dead By Maryland Police, Awarded $37 Million
The family of a Korryn Gaines was recently awarded $37 million in a controversial verdict after the woman was shot down by police officers in 2016
February 2019 update: A Baltimore judge overturned the $37 million lawsuit, ruling that it was “objectively reasonable” that the officer that shot and killed Gaines in her own home did not violate her Fourth Amendment right against unlawful seizure, which is what the family claimed.
Cpl. Royce Ruby shot Gaines and her son Kodi after a tense hours-long standoff inside her apartment. The judge, himself a former state trooper, ruled that Gaines, who had a shotgun, “abruptly moved from a place plainly visible in the living room to partial concealment behind a kitchen wall.
“Corporal Ruby was not required to be absolutely sure of the nature and extent of the threat Gaines posed,” the judge wrote in a nearly 80-page opinion.
The victim’s family plans to fight the ruling, which has captivated much of Baltimore over the past two years.
The award was going to be broken down this way: The victim's son, Kodi Gaines, is slated to receive $32 million, while $300,00 each will go to Gaines’ father and mother, and $4.5 million will be allocated to Gaines’ other child.
The case of Gaines, a Maryland mother, who was frequently posted about her encounters with the authorities on social media, garnered national support when she posted video of the showdown with police on her Instagram.
Gaines, 23, began recording when heavily armed officers showed up to her door on Monday, August 1, 2016. The authorities were there to execute a misdemeanor warrant. Gaines was gunned down in front of her child by police while she allegedly brandished a firearm at three officers during a several hours-long standoff. Gaines' 5-year-old son, whom she was holding, was also shot by police, although he suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Pundits say her family won't likely get the full monetary damages. CBS News reports that the state caps the liabilities of local governments in such cases. And judges work to bring down award amounts as well.
"While that's a tremendous verdict, it's certainly going to be subjected to challenges left and right," attorney Andrew G. Slutkin, who was not involved in the case, told CBS.
He said Gaines' son, who witnessed his mother's death, will likely not get all of the money awarded, nor will her relatives. "This will be litigated for years," Slutkin added. "It's going to be subjected to many motions in the trial court and the appellate courts as well."
The mother of Korryn Gaines, Rhanda Dormeus, recently spoke to Baltimore Beat, saying “We won’t be right for the rest of our lives.”
"She was on the swim team," her mother reflected. "She was always a reader. She played in marching band, she played clarinet. She wanted her own clarinet, because she took it seriously, so I bought it for her; an electric blue clarinet. That was one of her favorite colors. I think she wanted it so I could be able to spot her."