Baltimore judge overturns $38M award to family in police killing case

By Sommer Brokaw

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A Baltimore County judge has overturned a jury's $38 million wrongful death awarded last year to the family of a woman killed by police three years ago.

Baltimore County Judge Mickey Norman, a former state trooper, on Thursday dismissed the family's claims against the county after presiding over the civil trial last year, The Baltimore Sun reported Friday night.


Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, in a six-hour standoff at her apartment in 2016 where she pointed a shotgun at officers several times, according to reports. After one officer fired a shot at Gaines, she fired back then officers responded with three shots, hitting Gaines.

A jury found last year that the first shot Cpl. Royce Ruby fired at the woman killed her and injured her 5-year-old son, Kodi. The shot Ruby fired was not reasonable and violated the family's civil rights under state and federal statutes, jurors found.

The officers had come to her apartment to serve an arrest warrant that stemmed from a traffic stop that included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Gaines' family sued Baltimore County, saying officers used excessive force in the shooting.


The jury awarded the family $38 million in damages in the wrongful death suit, including $33 million to her son, $4.5 million to her daughter, and $9,000 to her parents and estate.

In a nearly 80-page ruling dated Thursday, Norman cited "qualified immunity," which shields law enforcement and government officials from civil liability when carrying out duties.

Gaines' family attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said they will appeal, and he hopes to revive issues in the appeal that Norman decided to dismiss before trial.

"It's devastating to a certain extent, but they're a very faithful family," Gordon said. "It's not over."

Police officials declined to comment. Ruby remains employed by the police department.

State Attorney Scott Shellenberger ruled the shooting was legally justified a month after the shooting, declining to bring criminal charges against the officers.

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