Today, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger announced that his office would not seek criminal charges against the police officers responsible for the August 1 shooting that killed Korryn Gaines and injured her young son, Kodi. In a letter to the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD), Shellenberger wrote that “based upon all of the circumstances, it is determined that this shooting was justified and the State will take no further action.” The BCoPD had alleged that Ms. Gaines threatened the officers, which led them to open fire after a nearly seven-hour standoff. Though Gaines uploaded videos of the standoff on Facebook, there is no video of the shooting itself.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill offered the following statement:
“We hope to learn everything we can about this investigation. The Gaines family deserves to know exactly how prosecutors reached the conclusion not to press charges. The State’s Attorney and the Baltimore County Police Department must be as transparent as possible about this investigation so that the entire community can understand their decision making.”
Yesterday, Ifill sent a letter on behalf of LDF to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz requesting an independent investigation into Gaines’ death and a wider review of BCoPD’s training practices, and policies regarding the service of arrest warrants and use-of-force. The LDF also asked County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to meet with community groups and to consider the appointment of a permanent, independent investigatory team for officer-involved shootings and deaths.
Read LDF’s letter 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.