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On December 5th, 2023, Maryland’s highest court heard oral arguments in the civil case stemming from the 2016 police shooting of Korryn Gaines and her son Kodi Gaines in Baltimore County.
Background on the 2016 police shooting
In August 2016, police responded to Korryn Gaines’ apartment after a traffic stop led to a warrant being issued for her arrest. Gaines refused to exit her apartment and interacted with police through her door, holding a shotgun. This led to an hours-long standoff between Gaines and police. During the standoff, police fired into Gaines’ apartment, shooting and killing both Korryn Gaines and her 5-year-old son Kodi Gaines, who was injured by bullets that passed through the apartment walls. Kodi Gaines survived the shooting but suffered injuries.
Arguments before the Maryland Supreme Court
On December 5th, 2023, the Maryland Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the civil case brought by Kodi Gaines regarding qualified immunity for the police officer involved. The plaintiff argues that qualified immunity should not shield the officer from liability, as firing into the apartment walls endangered innocent life. The police argue that their use of force was reasonable given the perceived threat during the standoff. The Maryland Supreme Court must now determine whether qualified immunity applies in this case or if the officer can be held civilly liable for injuries to Kodi Gaines. A ruling is expected in the coming months.
The 2016 police shooting of Korryn Gaines and Kodi Gaines in Baltimore County led to unresolved legal questions around police use of force and qualified immunity that are now being argued before Maryland’s highest court. The court’s upcoming decision could impact how qualified immunity is applied in police shooting cases where innocent bystanders are injured.