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Maryland judge overturns $37 million awarded to family of woman killed in police standoff

Published: February 16, 2019
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Source: cnn.com

A judge has overturned a more than $37 million verdict awarded to the family of a woman killed in an armed standoff with Baltimore County police.

Korryn Gaines, 23, was shot and killed in August 2016 after an hours-long standoff with police in Baltimore County. She was trying to livestream the encounter with police, authorities said at the time.  

Her son, Kodi, then 5, also was shot twice, said Kenneth Ravenell, an attorney for the child and his father, Corey Cunningham.

In an opinion obtained by CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman said Cpl. Royce Ruby, who court documents say shot Gaines twice, was “entitled to qualified immunity.” This means that because Ruby was acting in his capacity as a police officer, he is “shielded from liability for civil damages” as long as his conduct didn’t violate a person’s constitutional rights.

“The evidence is clear,” Norman’s opinion read. “This Court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful.”

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A jury returned a verdict Friday of more than $37 million against Baltimore County, Maryland, in a civil lawsuit brought by the family and estate of a woman killed in an armed standoff with county police, according to the attorneys for the family of Korryn Gaines.

A 23-year-old woman, and mother of a 5-year-old child, is dead. She was killed by police officers who came to serve a warrant for failure to appear charges stemming from a March 11th traffic stop. That this ever escalated to the point where bullets started flying is incomprehensible. Then again, much of what the woman, Korryn Gaines, did was incomprehensible. Gaines apparently considered herself a "sovereign citizen," which meant she chose not to recognize whatever laws she felt weren't worth following -- like registering her vehicle, insuring it, and equipping it with valid plates. Instead, she chose to make plates of her own out of cardboard that made some sort of statement about her sovereign citizen status. The traffic stop on March 11th escalated into an altercation with officers, resulting in more charges being added to the traffic violations.

Police kicked down the door of Korryn Gaines’ apartment, and returned with a SWAT team when she threatened them with a shotgun, court documents show. Gaines, who said she had lead poisoning, was killed and her five-year-old son was wounded in the standoff.

A 23-year-old woman, and mother of a 5-year-old child, is dead. She was killed by police officers who came to serve a warrant for failure to appear charges stemming from a March 11th traffic stop.

Baltimore County police said they shot and killed a woman Monday, along with her 5-year-old son during a botched traffic ticket raid.

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