The family of slain Baltimore woman Korryn Gaines filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against Baltimore County and the cop who killed her during a standoff on Aug. 1.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the suit was filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court and accuses an officer only known as “Officer First Class Ruby” of firing the fatal round “out of his own personal frustration rather than any true fear of a threat to him or others.” The family also alleges the county acted “with deliberate indifference” to Gaines’ rights, the publication reports.
Family attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said he and Gaines’ family are simply trying to get to the bottom of what happened the day the young woman was gunned down in her apartment.
“The only way we’re going to learn [answers] is by filing a lawsuit and conducting depositions,” Gordon said during a news conference.
Baltimore County Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant to Gaines and her fiancée at their Randallstown apartment Aug. 1 when the young woman barricaded herself in the residence with a shotgun. The New York Daily News reports that the warrant was related to a March 10 traffic stop, for which Gaines failed to show up to court.
During the hours-long standoff, police said Officer Ruby eventually shot at the young woman because she pointed her gun and repeatedly threatened to kill him. Gaines’ 5-year-old son, Kodi, was cradled in her lap at the time of her tense encounter with police. The cops fired first and Gaines fired back; Ruby shot again, killing the young woman and injuring her son.
Per the Baltimore Sun, the State’s Attorney’s office is currently investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against the officer. In the meantime, the Gaines’ family lawsuit alleges that police unlawfully entered the young mother’s apartment and violated her civil rights by asking Facebook to deactivate her live stream. Footage of the ill-fated encounter was briefly broadcast on the social media site for all to see.
“We did in fact reach out to social media authorities to deactivate her account, to take it offline, if you will,” Baltimore County police chief James Johnson said. “Why? In order to preserve the integrity of the negotiation process with her and for the safety of our personnel [and] her child. Ms. Gaines was posting video of the operation as it unfolded. Followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ request that she surrender peacefully.”
Also detailed in the lawsuit is the witness account of Gaines’ neighbor, Ramone Coleman. Coleman claimed that police drilled holes in his wall to set up surveillance equipment and keep tabs on the young woman in her apartment. He also said he heard Gaines offer to put down her weapon and come out if officers did the same.
According to the suit, Coleman reportedly heard one of the officers say “I’m sick of this s—” before shots rang out.
CBS Baltimore reports that the family is suing the county and Officer Ruby for $2 million each.