Gaines’ Family Attorneys say Police Illegally Entered Home, Escalated Standoff

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Korryn Gaines
Korryn Gaines

This morning, lawyers for Korryn Gaines’ family added to their complaint against Baltimore County police, saying officers illegally went into her home and brought an August standoff to a deadly point.

Police shot and killed Gaines after an hours-long barricade in Randallstown on Aug. 1. Officers arrived at her apartment that day to serve warrants to Gaines and her boyfriend, Kareem Courtney, for misdemeanor offenses. A seven-hour standoff ensued.

A tactical officer identified only as Officer First Class Ruby eventually fatally shot Gaines after police say she threatened officers with a shotgun. Her 5-year-old son there in the apartment with her suffered injuries as well.

Attorneys for Gaines’ family say in their new filing that police weren’t even allowed to be in the house before the standoff began. They have also named two other officers, John Dowell and Allen Griffin, who they accuse of illegally entering her apartment. Their alleged forcible entry into Gaines’ home violated her constitutional and state rights, according to the expanded complaint. It also says they had no search warrant and no reasonable suspicion that she and Courtney were inside.

On a phone call, family attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said Courtney told officers his girlfriend suffered from mental health issues to convince officers to try a different approach. When Gaines refused to let them in, instead of leaving, officers turned the situation into a “full-blown standoff,” the complaint says.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger ruled the shooting was justified last month and opted not to file criminal charges against any officers.

Gordon said during a phone call that he “will aggressively pursue justice in this matter as we have. We’re adding two additional officers to our complaint and we’re looking to add any more as the facts unfold in this matter.”

A Baltimore County Police spokesperson said in an email that the county “does not comment on pending litigation.” She also said the Police Chief Jim Johnson and Shellenberger had already addressed some of the issues in the filing.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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