A Baltimore County, Md., jury on Friday awarded more than $38 million to the family of a woman who was fatally shot by the police in 2016 after a standoff that had been partly broadcast on Instagram.
The woman, Korryn Gaines, was shot several times by a Baltimore County police officer as her 5-year-old son lingered nearby, in the line of fire. During the standoff, the son, Kodi Gaines, was struck twice by the officer’s gunfire — once in the face and once in the elbow.
After an approximately three-week trial and less than three hours of deliberation, the all-female jury found that the first shot the officer had fired was not reasonable; they then doled out damages on the grounds that Baltimore County had violated the Gaineses’ civil rights and had committed battery on the mother and son.
The jury awarded Kodi Gaines, now 6, more than $32.8 million; Karsyn Courtney, Kodi’s younger sister, who was not in the apartment at the time of the shooting, was awarded more than $4.5 million; and Korryn’s mother and father were awarded $300,000 each, as was the estate of Korryn Gaines.
Kenneth Ravenell, a lawyer representing Kodi Gaines and his father, Corey Cunningham, called the verdict a “huge win" for his clients. While he acknowledged that the award was “significant," he emphasized that he believed the payout was justified given that Kodi had been shot and continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress.
As the case was unfolding, the police had said Ms. Gaines, 23, had a shotgun and had pointed it at an officer at least once during the confrontation.
In the fall of 2016, the Baltimore County State Attorney’s Office announced that it had completed its review of the shooting and had determined that it had been justified, and that criminal charges were not warranted. The officer who fired the shots, Royce Ruby, was promoted to the rank of corporal while the matter was pending, Mr. Ravenell said.
The Baltimore Sun reported that lawyers for the family had sought more than $42 million in damages. Mr. Ravenell said he believed more money had been sought for Ms. Gaines’s estate than was ultimately awarded.