The family of Korryn Gaines, a young woman shot and killed by a Baltimore County police officer in 2016, has been awarded $37 million after a jury ruled Friday that the officer’s actions were improper.
Police say Gaines, 23, raised a shotgun into the firing position during what had turned into six-hour standoff, and that Officer Royce Ruby’s actions were therefore justified. Ruby fired a bullet that killed Gaines and wounded her son, Kodi, who was 5 at the time.
Kodi was awarded $32 million in Friday’s judgment, according to WBAL. Gaines’ daughter, Karsyn Courtney, was awarded $4.5 million. Her father and mother each received $300,000, and the Gaines estate was awarded an additional $300,000.
The all-female jury of six reached its verdict after three hours of deliberations. None of the money awarded was for punitive damages.
Gaines’ family welcomed the verdict as a victory for the broader community.
This win is for all of my sisters in the movement who have lost their children to police violence.Rhanda Dormeus, Korryn Gaines' mother
“This win is for all of my sisters in the movement who have lost their children to police violence,” Gaines’ mother, Rhanda Dormeus, told The Baltimore Sun outside the courthouse after the verdict. “Some of them have never received justice, either criminally or civil. I just want to tell them that this win is for them.”
In a statement, Baltimore County said it is disappointed by the verdict and may file an appeal.
“A mother died, a child was unintentionally injured, and police officers were placed in mortal danger,” the statement read. “By any account, this was a tragic situation.”
Officers went to Gaines’ apartment the morning of Aug. 1, 2016, to serve her an arrest warrant on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and multiple traffic violations. When she didn’t open the door after officers knocked repeatedly, they obtained a key from the landlord and attempted to enter the apartment. They found Gaines on the floor holding a shotgun and her 5-year-old son.
“At that point, our detectives backed off, not only to call additional resources, but to ensure the safety of the community and bring a safe resolution to this incident,” Baltimore County police Cpl. John Wachter said in 2016.
Gaines published videos of the standoff on Facebook and Instagram throughout the ordeal. In the caption of one of them, she wrote, “My son is not a hostage.”