Korryn Gaines swore to police they would have to take her out in a body bag during a traffic stop back in March.
But Baltimore County police managed to pull her out of her car that day without killing her, throwing her in jail for two days on several misdemeanors after they pulled her over for driving without a proper license plate.
In place of a license place, she had a piece of cardboard that read: “Any government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right to freedom.”
And on the front of her car, she had posted another cardboard that read: “Free Traveler.”
Both signs indicate she was a sovereign citizen, who believe they are above all local, state and federal laws, especially when it comes to driving where they cite common law, which states they have the right to travel without interference from the government.
Perhaps because of that, the 23-year-old mother did not show up to court for those charges, which prompted Baltimore County police to show up at her residence with an arrest warrant Monday morning.
They also had an arrest warrant for her boyfriend, Kareem K. Courtney, who walked out of the home with their one-year-old child, turning himself in for an assault charge stemming from an argument he had with her on June 28.
But once again, Gaines swore they would have to take her out in a body bag.
And this time, she was armed with a shotgun.
And this time, they killed her.
Police said they fired first after a seven-hour standoff, but missed, which prompted her to fire back twice, but also missing, resulting in police shooting her back three times and killing her.
Police claim none of the officers were wearing body cameras, but a video recorded by Gaines prior to the shooting shows a cop standing in her doorway appearing to wear one on his helmet.
Baltimore County police have just started a body cam program this month and said their officers have not been trained how to use them yet.
The model they chose is the Axon Flex, which is pictured in the photos below (UPDATE: We have been receiving word that the object on the cop’s head is likely a night vision device mount).
Police have also not explained why they fired first after holding their fire for seven hours, even though they said she was pointing a gun at them, threatening to kill them.
However, the officer in her one-minute video does not appear to be fearing for his life as he holds his rifle in a slightly downward position while she zooms in on him with the camera.
That video, which was posted to her Instagram, was removed without explanation, but we downloaded it before it was removed, including it in one of the videos below.
Another video posted to her Instagram captures a conversation between her and her 5-year-old son, Kodi.
“What’s happening right now? Who’s outside?”
“The police,” he responds.
“And what are they trying to do?” she asks.
“They’re trying to kill us,” he responds.
“Do you want to go out there?” she asks.
“No,” he responds, shaking his head.
In fact, Gaines was live streaming much of the standoff to Facebook and Instagram but police said they petitioned the social media sites to deactivate her profiles “in order to preserve the integrity of the negotiation process with her and for the safety of our personnel, her child.”
But her 5-year-old son, Kodi, ended up shot in the exchange anyway.
Police are not saying whether he was shot by cops or struck by shrapnel from his mother’s shotgun, which indicates he was shot by cops because enough time has passed for them to know the answer.
But the boy will survive, a gentle child who has seen much too much for his young age.
He was in the car with his mother on March 11 when she was pulled over for the missing license plate, which resulted in her posting several 15-second videos to Instagram before they finally pulled her out.
The Instagram clips, which have been compiled in a video below, reveal a woman who is not firmly in touch with reality; a woman willing to die rather than let police tow her car away for not having the proper documentation.
One explanation might be lead poisoning, which left her with “neurodevelopmental disability and brain damage,” according to a doctor cited in a lawsuit she filed against several landlords, who also said that “Korryn was exposed to a sea of lead when she lived in lead-contaminated houses.”
In that regard, she is no different than Freddie Gray, who like Gaines, was born in Baltimore, only two years earlier. And who like Gaines, was exposed to lead poisoning as a child, which likely resulted in his behavioral problems and run-ins with the law, ultimately resulting in his death.
In fact, there are thousands more young adults who grew up black and poor in Baltimore who also have lead poisoning, according to a Washington Post investigative report.
Gaines was also angry over the rash of police killings of black men in recent months and we know she is not alone, especially considering the recent payback killings of cops by men who probably also suffered from mental illness, maybe even lead poisoning, which has afflicted other poor black communities in the United States, including Kansas City, which is where Baton Rouge cop killer Gavin Long was said to have grown up.
Like Long and Dallas cop killer Micah Xavier Johnson, Gaines was heavily affected by the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, posting the following two images on her Instagram account after the Fourth of July.
The Traffic Stop
Gaines was very distrustful of police back in March when she was pulled over for not having a license plate.
“Listen, if you plan on shooting somebody today, you can get your wish,” Gaines told the officer.
“When you put your hands on me, I promise you, I promise you, you will have to murder me,” she told the cop who had pulled her over. “So go ahead and get ready to do that.”
She then handed the phone to her son and told him to continue recording, which he did.
Her 1-year-old daughter was also in the car, who starts crying, only for Gaines to tell her to stop.
She then brings both kids to the front seat with her, grabbing the daughter from a child seat, telling the boy to step up front.
“Don’t be afraid,” she tells him. “You see what they to do us, right? You fight them.”
“Ok,” the boy responds.
“They are not for us,” she says.
“Ok,” he says.
“They want to kill us,” she says. “And you never, ever back down from them.”
“Ok,” he says.
“We don’t want to kill you,” the cop says. “We’re your friends. We’re here to help you.”
“Do you believe that?” she asks her son.
“No,” he responds.
“He’s seen videos of you shooting people like his father and shit,” she tells the cop. “Don’t even talk to him.”
The cop apparently smiles because she says, “it’s not funny. It’s really not funny.”
“The way you’re raising your children is not funny,” the cop tells her.
And while many commenters who have seen the video have criticized her parenting style, there is truth in what she was teaching her son.
After all, police have proven over and over that they are not our friends, that they are not there to help us. That they are there to exploit us for revenue and kill us when we don’t comply.
That’s a hard truth that most of us did not learn at the age of five, but that’s a hard truth that Kodi will probably never forget.
Especially after watching his mother get shot and killed by the same people who told him five months earlier that they were his friends and were there to help him.
PINAC reporter Ben Keller contributed to this report.