Justice will never be served in the officer-involved shooting case of Korryn Gaines, but this week her family is able to celebrate the victory of a yearslong fight for a small semblance of restitution. On Wednesday a judge ruled in favor of Gaines’s family, reinstating the nearly $38 million award that was previously decided upon by a jury.
According to the Baltimore Sun, jurors who decided to restore the original verdict say they took issue with the decision made by a judge in 2019 to vacate a judgment reached by a jury. They confirmed that the 2016 shooting was unreasonable and believe that the civil rights of her family, including her young son, were violated when officers opened fire in her Baltimore apartment, killing the 23-year-old mother and shooting her 5-year-old son, Kodi.
Gaines died on August 1, 2016, her final moments streamed on social media as officers surrounded her apartment. An hours-long standoff between Gaines and Baltimore police ensued after officers arrived at the home Gaines occupied with her family to serve her and her boyfriend an arrest warrant. Gaines was being summoned after failing to appear in court on a traffic ticket. Her boyfriend had a warrant stemming from a domestic incident with Gaines.
The young woman who had a history of mental illness barricaded herself inside her Randallstown home with a shotgun. That afternoon police shot into her apartment after officers claim she moved from her original location within the home and fired two rounds from her weapon. When officers attempted to take her out, one of the rounds intended for Gaines, hit her son.
In 2018 a jury found that Officer Royce Ruby, the man who fired the fatal shots, did not act reasonably during the encounter with Gaines. But in 2019, Judge Mickey Norman dismissed the case against the Baltimore Police Department, saying Ruby’s actions were reasonable given the information he had. He vacated the multimillion-dollar award and instructed that there be a jury trial if the family appealed.
On Wednesday that jury found that the family was deserving of the original judgment. Of the reported $38 million, WBAL reports that Gaines’s son will receive $32 million. The family also hopes that Gaines’s case will prompt police departments to consider additional de-escalation measures when dealing with individuals who have known mental health issues.