$37 million dollars was awarded to a Maryland woman’s family on Friday as a result of her shooting death that occurred during a 6 hour standoff.
According the the Baltimore Sun, the jury spent several hours deliberating before coming to its decision on the case involving the death Korryn Gaines, 23 at the time, and her shooter, police Corporal Royce Ruby.
The Sun also reported that the family had named both the government of Baltimore County and Ruby in its civil lawsuit.
The six woman jury found that the shot that took Gaines’ life and wounded her young son wasn’t a reasonable use of force and was a violation of their civil rights per current state & federal law.
According to the paper, Gaines’ son Kodi, who was 5 years old at the time of the shooting, was awarded $32 million dollars, with his sister Karsyn being awarded an additional $4.5 million. Gaines’ parents were awarded $300,000 each, with another $300,000 going to her estate.
After the decision was read by the forewoman, gasps were heard from the courtroom crowd.
Afterwards, Rhanda Dormeus, Gaines’ mother, took time to speak with reporters with tears in her eyes.
She went on to describe the verdict as a win for all who have suffered the tragedy of losing a child to police violence.
Mike Field, the attorney for Baltimore County, released a statement after the decision expressing disappointment with the verdict and said future legal options were being considered, including the possibility of an appeal.
The State’s Attorney had cleared Corporal Ruby of any criminal wrongdoing before the case went to civil trial. No charges were ever issued, and Ruby has recently received a promotion.
The civil trial for the fatal August 1, 2016 shooting lasted just under three weeks.
The closing argument for the defense was made on Friday by James Ruckle Jr., who is employed as assistant attorney for the county. Rickle claimed Ruby’s response was a reasonable one because he was afraid that officers could be injured by Ms. Gaines or worse.
In his closing, he revealed that arrest warrants had been issued for Ms. Gaines and Corey Cunningham, her fiance, and two police officers had attempted to serve them that day. After no one would answer the door, police officers had no choice left but to kick the door in. According to Ruckle, the first officer to enter the apartment found himself facing a shotgun-wielding Gaines who had the weapon pointed directly at him.
Gaines’ fiance had fled the location with his and Gaines’ infant daughter. Gaines stayed behind in the apartment with her 5 year old son.
Ruckle said it was after seeing Gaines’ braids and the barrel of the shotgun extending from behind a wall when Ruby opened fire.
According to Ruckle, Corporal Ruby was merely doing as trained and was attempting to put an end to the threat at hand.
Kenneth Ravenell, the attorney for Ms. Gaines’ fiance who is also the father of Kodi, expressed a sentiment that is often expressed in situations like this and stated the child didn’t deserve what had happened to him. It is Ravenell’s belief that Ruby acted recklessly after deciding to open fire.
As often happens in cases like this, the case became a national story with anti-police activists taking advantage of the issue to advocate against what they believe is yet another case of excessive police force.
While satisfied that the jury decided in their favor, the Gaines’ family still finds it frustrating that Ruby is still an employee of the police force.