In 2016, 23-year-old Korryn Gaines was shot and killed by a SWAT team following an hours-long standoff in Baltimore County and it was all over traffic tickets.
Her family has finally won a wrongful death lawsuit on appeal worth $38 million.
A grand jury originally sided with the family in 2018, but a judge later reversed the ruling, siding with the police and saying they were just doing their duty.
“A Baltimore County jury found the first shot fired by Cpl. Royce Ruby was not reasonable, and therefore violated Gaines’ civil rights under state and federal statutes. As a result, they awarded Kodi and her family approximately $38 million,” The Grio reported.
But a year later that decision was reversed by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge who said the police were carrying out their duty, CBS affiliate station WJZ reported. Now, according to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, that judge’s ruling has been overturned.
Baltimore County Police went to Gaines’ apartment in 2016 to serve her an arrest warrant. Police said she pulled out a shotgun and a six-hour standoff ensued before she was shot and killed.
Her family said Gaines suffered from a dissociative mental disorder, The Grio reported.
Gaines’ family sued the Baltimore County police, saying that officers used excessive force when they fatally shot her and injured her 5-year-old son.
“Korryn Gaines died a horrible, tragic, sadistic death, and we just wanted justice for her and her family,” Gaines’ family attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said.
This is the largest award ever against a Baltimore-area police force, The Grio reported. A spokesman for Baltimore County said that county attorneys believe the award will be reduced significantly when the details of the judgment are ironed out.
“The County is continuing a comprehensive evaluation of the opinion and considering further action,” the spokesman, Sean Naron, wrote in an email. “We cannot comment further.”
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The suit centers around a written test for police officer recruits that the DOJ said was unfairly biased against African-American applicants.
African-American applicants failed the test at a much higher rate than white applicants, according to the lawsuit. This resulted in fewer African Americans being hired as police officers, the Department of Justice wrote in the lawsuit.