Korryn Gaines Is the Ninth Black Woman Shot and Killed by Police in the U.S. This Year
Social justice advocates are criticizing police for what they say was an inappropriate degree of force against a woman holding a child being arrested for charges sustained during a traffic stop. Blavity has published a roundup of 11 highly publicized incidents wherein police disarmed white suspects with guns without killing them. In a statement, the ACLU of Maryland explained why Gaines brandishing her shotgun did not justify the officers’ deadly gunfire:
In situations like this, police departments typically focus on the ways in which the civilian escalated the situation and made the use of deadly force “necessary.” But if civilians never escalated situations, and always acted calmly, and always submitted willingly and quietly to authority, there would be little need for police in the first place, and no need for armed police. Of course, that isn’t the world we live in. And too often a double standard exists for Black Americans, whose wielding of guns is met with less patience by police. Police have a moral obligation, and should have a legal obligation, to act in ways that don’t predictably result in the opportunity or necessity to use force. Here, for example, police decided, for reasons not yet clear, after seven hours of negotiation and waiting, that they could not wait any longer to execute a warrant for failing to appear for a minor traffic offense. And they further decided that they needed to use deadly force to execute that warrant, and needed to expose themselves to the known risk of deadly force being used on them, knowing that a five year old child might be in the line of fire.
According to the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings in the U.S., Gaines is the ninth black woman killed by police gunfire in 2016; an additional 18 women of other races or of unknown race were also shot and killed by police. (ThePost has collected the previous eight black women’s stories and the circumstances of their killings here.) Police shot and killed 42 women, 10 of them black, in all of 2015.
Korryn Gaines (1993-2016), a Black American hairstylist and mother of two, was gunned down by police in her own home in front of her five-year-old son. They shot him too, but he is expected to live. The police will not say who killed her.
What is known four days after the killing:
On Monday morning, August 1st 2016, police came to her home in Randallstown, Maryland, a largely Black middle-class suburb of Baltimore. They came to arrest her for not appearing in court on a string of traffic charges.
They said they kicked in her door – and found her pointing a shotgun at them. They backed off.
That led to a seven-hour stand-off. They said they tried to talk her into giving herself up and even brought in mental health professionals. But there is no tape of said negotiations – and they never brought in her mother.
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