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Korryn Gaines Update
By Charlene Muhammad Contributing Writer
Published August 10, 2016
Korryn Gaines and son, Kodi

Korryn Gaines and son, Kodi (Courtesy Photo)

Baltimore County Police have arrested the boyfriend of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old woman SWAT officers shot and killed in front of her son on August 1.

Police Chief Jim Johnson said officers went to serve arrest warrants.

Courtney has been charged with distributing heroine out of the apartment.

According to Baltimore County police, Courtney’s warrant was for second-degree assault, and Gaines’ was a failure to appear bench warrant for traffic violations — including resisting arrest — incurred during a March 10 traffic stop.

Police arrested Courtney when he left the apartment minutes after officers arrived.  They were dubbed “warrant service officers” in a police report, but critics quipped since when do SWAT teams serve warrants?

The 39-year-old was in the home before SWAT ended an approximate seven-hour standoff with his girlfriend, according to the woman’s five-year-old son, Kodi.

The child, bandaged on his cheek and arm, was also shot by police.  He said in a video taped reportedly by his aunt from his hospital bed on Aug. 4 that Courtney tried to get him to leave, but he wanted to stay with his mom.  Courtney then took Gaines’ one-year-old child and fled, but he was captured by police.

Chief Johnson said an officer shot Gaines because she pointed her gun at him and threatened him.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Kodi Gaines said police shot his mother and shot him as he was running.   He also said police kicked their door in, countering police reports that officers entered after obtaining a key.

Gaines posted several videos of her encounters with police, including her live stream during the standoff.  Facebook removed the videos, reportedly at police requests, but some were found on Instagram and other online sites.

Some have compared her reactions to what she felt was racial profiling to Philando Castile (the mild-mannered cafeteria worker who was gunned down by police in Minnesota on July 6).

According to reports, he was stopped more than 50 times by police in recent years, but people react to situations differently, some argued.

“All of us have different dispositions, but even you would admit that if somebody just kept stopping you, in your neighborhood, constantly, and it’s the police, constantly, you would absolutely be agitated,” said Attorney Barbara Arwine of the Transformative Justice Coalition, which is internationally renowned for its contributions on criminal justice issues.

Reactions to Gaines’ shooting have varied. Some have argued the 23-year-old put her son in a dangerous situation.   Some cautioned, do not rush to judgment.  Some urged, use common sense and weigh the fact that police could and should have waited her out and negotiated.  And others refuted arguments she endangered her child, saying she was in her own home, and gunned down over traffic tickets.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, a political analyst, feels it is important that people have all the facts.  He also questioned, how can they obtain the facts when police consistently lie.

“I think that maybe it should just be expected that anytime the police commit any sort of assault against citizens, kill a citizen or assault them physically or whatever, there should be cameras around.  Every situation should be reviewable,” he said.

Dr. Watkins said he would not be surprised if news crews were not on the scene, so by procedure, why was not one person there to film everything?  The goal is to clear things up, he said.

According to Baltimore County Police, last September, county executive Kevin Kamenetz announced 1,435 officers would be equipped with body-worn cameras.

The first 150 cameras were scheduled for deployment beginning this July. The remainder are scheduled for deployment beginning in July 2017, and continuing until the project is phased in completely.

Meanwhile, many are still shaking their heads over incidents like Ms. Gaines’ demise, the non-convictions in the case of Freddie Gray, who died in Baltimore Police Department custody after his arrest on April 12, 2015.  His neck was approximately 80 percent severed from his spine.

This month, after failing to get convictions in the trials of the first three officers brought to trial, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced she was dropping charges against the other three officers.

“Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that police investigating police, whether they’re friends or mainly their colleagues, was problematic,” Mosby said in a press conference.

She said there was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified not by the entire Baltimore police department, but by individuals within the department at every stage of the investigation.

That became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials, and although the police commissioner was extremely accommodating, individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team.  “Interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions leave detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case,” Mosby said.

Now, five of the officers charged are suing Mosby and calling for her disbarment, according to reports.

“It’s vicious, but it’s what happens when you fight the system, and when you fight for change.  Change doesn’t come easy, and people don’t go without resistance into the path,” said Arnwine.

Just look at the Voting Rights Act, in its 51st anniversary she said.  That’s in 2016, 51 years of fighting just to ensure Blacks can cast a ballot, she said.

Arnwine added, “People don’t just give up and say we were wrong.  Let us make a change.  No way!  They resist to the end, and that’s why we have to fight to the end!”

Categories: National | News
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