Judge Denies $38 Million Verdict For the Family of a Black Woman Killed by Police
In 2016, local police officers went to Gaines’ apartment to serve an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court for two different charges. Gaines, who was found inside the apartment with her boyfriend and her two children, allegedly pointed a gun at the officers.
After a 6-hour standoff, police officers fired shots when she allegedly threatened to kill them, although their neighbors told different stories. Gaines was fatally shot and her now-6-year-old son, Kodi, was injured.
Her family filed a lawsuit against Baltimore County Police and Cpl. Royce Ruby, the officer who fatally shot her, claiming that they used excessive force. The jury sided with the family and last year, they were awarded $38 million in damages, which included $33 million to her son, Kodi, $4.5 million to her daughter, Karsyn, and $9,000 to her parents and estate.
However, Judge Mickey J. Norman recently dismissed the claims and denied the family of the award. Norman stated in his ruling that Ruby’s actions were “objectively reasonable” and did not violate her rights against unlawful seizure. He noted the “qualified immunity” that protect law enforcement and government officials from civil liability when doing their job.
Gaines’ family said that they are planning to appeal the judge’s ruling.
“It’s devastating to a certain extent, but they’re a very faithful family,” J. Wyndal Gordon, the family’s attorney, told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s not over.”