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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

LDF Asks Baltimore County Police Department Critical Questions About Shooting Death of Korryn Gaines


Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to James W. Johnson, Chief of the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD) seeking a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation into the police-involved shooting death of Korryn Gaines on August 1, 2016.

“Communities are struggling to understand the events that led to the police-involved shooting that killed Korryn Gaines and injured her young son, Kodi,” said Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy and one of the signatories of the letter.  “Ongoing transparency from the police department is vital as the public grapples with this tragedy.” 

According to news reports, since January 2015 four of the six (67 percent) police-involved shootings in Baltimore County have involved African-American victims, despite an African-American population of just 28 percent. The BCoPD’s fatal interaction with Ms. Gaines is the latest example. 

The letter requests that Chief Johnson and the BCoPD respond to questions about inconsistencies in the department’s accounts of the circumstances surrounding the police-involved shooting of Ms. Gaines and her son. Specifically, LDF requests:

  • Copies of police body-worn cameras and other video footage of the incident in accordance with state law and departmental policy, as well as the deployment plan of officers outfitted with body-worn cameras;
  • Copies of BCoPD policies on the execution of arrest warrants. To execute the arrest warrant, the BCoPD gained access to Ms. Gaines’s home through use of a key obtained from apartment managers. While BCoPD’s review of the service of the warrant concluded that officers legally gained entrance into Ms. Gaines’ home, BCoPD did not indicate whether obtaining a key to serve a warrant for a misdemeanor offense was consistent with departmental policy;
  • An update on when BCoPD anticipates releasing the names of the officers’ involved in the incident, the identity of the “hostage negotiator” unit involved, as well as the number of officers involved in serving the warrant, including their ranks and years of service;
  • Clarification on what, after six hours of negotiation, constituted an escalation that justified the officer’s decision to open fire on Ms. Gaines;
  • Information about any and all administrative review or disciplinary procedures in which the BCoPD is engaged relating to the incident; and,
  • Notice of whether the officer who shot and killed Ms. Gaines and shot her son continues to be on administrative duty, and whether he has been interviews by supervisors or and/or the State’s Attorney’s office.

The letter has also been transmitted to Vanita Gupta, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Justice. It is signed by LDF’s Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel and Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy. The full letter is available here.



Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.