A surprising eye witness saw the armed standoff that led to a Baltimore cop killing the young mother, Korryn Gaines last month in front of her child.
Now, her family is suing the Balitmore County Police & Fire Department for wrongful death.
Gaines’ death drew worldwide attention when Facebook pulled the plug on her live video broadcast of the standoff.
When the live video ended, so did Gaines’ life.
Baltimore County Police asked Facebook to pull the plug before killing Korryn Gaines.
Activists have started a Facebook page to seeking justice for Gaines and an end to Facebook’s censorship of live video involving the interaction between citizens and police.
Ramon Coleman was the eye witness, and he said the cop who shot Gaines shot her out of frustration, and not self-defense, attorneys revealed Tuesday at a press conference.
Gaines’ family revealed this key detail after filing civil lawsuit against Baltimore County, and the killer Baltimore cop identified only as Officer Ruby.
It wasn’t his first kill either.
It turns out, Officer Ruby also fatally shot Adam Benjamin Rothstein, who was armed with a BB gun in 2007, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Coleman was an apartment away when police singled out Gaines to not only serve misdemeanor warrants on at her home, which is uncommon, but kicked in the door to her apartment after she chose not to answer it after police knocked.
According to wbaltv.com, a Baltimore SWAT Unit illegally commandeered Coleman’s apartment to monitor the standoff with Gaines.
Coleman was confined against his will as the SWAT team set up their systems and operation.
Baltimore cops negotiated with Gaines for about six hours before shooting and killing her.
Coleman was able to hear dialogue between Gaines and see some of the interaction between Gaines and police through the entryway since the door was at times left cracked open during so-called negotiations.
During the first hour, Coleman reported hearing Gaines, who held a shotgun, negotiating with the cops who forcefully and illegally broke into her home.
“You put yours down, I’ll put mine down,” she proposed.
About six hours later, officer Ruby grew frustrated, lost his cool and took matters into his own hands yelling, “I’m sick of this shit, put the gun down!”
Immediately, several bullets were fired, which killed Gaines in front of her 5-year-old son.
Either Ruby is a terrible shot, or a bullet ricocheted and struck him in the cheek.
Baltimore cops denied having body cameras, but the lawyers for Gaines family have faith their witness paints a clear enough picture about what actually happened.
“He did not shoot her because he was in fear that she posed a threat to him or other officers,” explained J. Wyndal Gordon, an attorney representing the Gaines family.
“They had been with Ms. Gaines for approximately seven hours, He shot Ms. Gaines out of frustration, and that is not a legitimate basis for shooting and killing an individual,” he added.
Family, lawyers and others close to Gaines gathered at the press conference, including Gaines’ boyfriend Kareem Courtney, who left the apartment when police broke inside.
“I can’t understand why the people who get paid to serve and protect us can take her life that way and not be held responsible for their actions,” said Courtney.
Lawyers for the Gaines family said one of the biggest reasons they filed the lawsuit is because they don’t have any faith in police investigating themselves.
“An arrest warrant is not a search warrant,” Gordon explained. “When they took that key and cracked the threshold of that doorway so they could peer inside, ladies and gentleman, that was a search. It was an unlawful search.”
The lawsuit claims it was the duty of the Defendants to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to protect Gaines right to be free from unlawful searches and excessive force resulting from an arrest for traffic violations and misdemeanor criminal offenses, which is what a Baltimore cops kicked down the door to Gaines apartment were there for.
It alleges, among many things, that Baltimore cops ‘ratcheted up’ the situation by forcing the issue and insistently and forcibly arresting Gaines rather than coming back the next day, especially since the apartment complex is across the street from the police station.
It also describes First Amendment violations when police disabled her Facebook account.
“By blocking her live streaming, the Baltimore County Police Department not only suppressed speech under the Maryland Constitution but also stopped the only independent visual video record of what was taking place before Officer Ruby killed her,” Jimmy Bell an attorney for the Gaines family said.
“Her life mattered. It matters, and everyone who was involved in this, beforehand or afterwards, if you tried to cover it up, we are coming at you civilly,” added Bell.
Gaines’ family’s lawyers also argue Ruby’s actions were intentional and foreseeable, given his history, and that using his authority created more danger for Gaines than if he hadn’t acted at all, which directly caused her death.
Why Ruby was there is an interesting question, given his past and the level of judgement he displayed when not only killed Gaines but fired at her while her 5-year-old son sat in her lap.
“[The cops] should have used better tactics to get her out of the apartment. No one should die like that,” said Coleman.
Some might even argue cops should have never been there in the first place, kicking down her door to serve a traffic ticket warrant, which almost never entails forced entry in departments across the country and seems more like Baltimore police retaliating against Gaines for opposing them, and questioning their legitimacy.
Her life did matter.
Ed. Note: Grant Stern contributed to this report.