Let’s Not Have the Media--Nor The Police--Define Korryn Gaines

Let’s Not Have the Media -- nor the Police -- Define Korryn Gaines
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<em>Korryn Gaines, 23-year old Baltimore County woman shot and killed by police August 1st.</em>
Korryn Gaines, 23-year old Baltimore County woman shot and killed by police August 1st.

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” ― Malcolm X

Who was Korryn Gaines, the 23-year old woman shot and killed by Baltimore County Police last week, after a six-hour standoff? An incident that also resulted in her 5-year old son also being shot, though he’s reportedly in fair condition.

The media is portraying her as a mentally deranged woman with brain damage due to lead poisoning ― who both hated and wanted to kill police, and who desired suicide by cops.


In a story posted by the Baltimore Sun, the reporter wrote about a 2012 lawsuit which Gaines had brought against two landlords because of her being exposed to lead paint. According the Sun, the suit – which is still pending – claimed the exposure lowered Gaines’ IQ and went on to say that because of the paint Gaines had issues with “anger and impulsive behavior.”

Fox News host Megyn Kelley of the Kelley Files said on her show: “There is a question about her mental state . . . Police would not confirm whether she had a history of mental issues.”

The Washington Post – without giving any context – said Gaines “followed the rapper David Banner, who released a video called ‘Black Fist’ in which a police officer is tied up, beaten bloody and stabbed.”

<em>Rapper and Activist David Banner - Some media outlets seem to imply his latest video "Black Fist" incited Korryn Gaines to have a violent confrontation with police</em>
Rapper and Activist David Banner - Some media outlets seem to imply his latest video "Black Fist" incited Korryn Gaines to have a violent confrontation with police

Of course all the media also detailed the facts in the case; most of which was given to them by police authorities.

According to Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson: At about 9:10 Monday morning, two police officers knocked on Gaines’ apartment door to serve arrest warrants on her and her 39-year old boyfriend, Kareem Courtney. No one answered but police could hear movement and voices, so they obtained a key from the apartment management office. After they unlocked the door they could still not gain entry because of an interior chain . . . but through the space they saw Gaines holding a gun which she then pointed at them. It was at that point they retreated further into the hallway and called in for backup. NOTE: DAYS AFTER THE SHOOTING IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT POLICE HAD USED THE KEY TO GET IN, BUT WHEN THEY FOUND THEMSELVES INHIBITED BY THE INTERIOR CHAIN LOCK, THEY KICKED THE DOOR IN. IT WAS ONLY THEN THAT GAINES POINTED A GUN AT THEM.

In a press conference covered by the Baltimore Sun Johnson also said: Courtney left the apartment with a one-year old girl, and was arrested.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Gaines’ mother told them that she arrived on the scene and asked police to be allowed to speak to her daughter. She was turned down.

Also in his press conference, Johnson said police officials contacted Facebook and asked them to suspend Gaines’ Facebook and Instagram accounts as she was trying to livestream the events as they unfolded, and some of her followers were egging her on.

Around 3::05 p.m., Johnson said, Gaines took aim at an officer, saying: “I’m going to kill you.”

At that point, according to Johnson, an officer fired one round at Gaines. Gaines fired two shots back at the police, who then fire three shots in her direction – one of which kills her.

Johnson said when the officers then entered the apartment, they found Gaines’ 5-year old son had also been shot. Police say they don’t know if he was shot by Gaines or them. NOTE: POLICE LATER DISCLOSE GAINES’ SON WAS SHOT BY THEM

How does a lawsuit, lead paint, or the name of a rapper whom Gaines followed on Instagram ― who is also followed by more than 145,000 other people ― fit into the story? What does the videotape she posted of her traffic stop in March have to do with her death on Monday? Remember, she didn’t point a gun at the police then.

Some might say the media added those details to give background or color, or suggest possible motives for the incident.

The reality is it’s conjecture, supposition, and hyperbole.

And a lot of people are buying it.

If there’s something in a news story that does not DIRECTLY relate to the incident in question, you should pretty much ignore it while reading the article. Once you’ve finished reading, then go back and read it again – with the additional color and details the media adds. YOU then decide how much weight those media additions should be given.

There’s no videotape of the Gaines shooting – the Baltimore County police force were given body cameras last month, but they claim they’re “not sure” if the officers involved in Gaines’ death were wearing one.

Remember, police lie when it’s in their best interest to do so. They say they felt threatened when Korryn Gaines said, “I’m going to kill you,” causing them to take a shot at her. Was this like when Walter Scott took police officer Michael Slager’s Taser, causing Slager to feel threatened? An occurrence that video later proved did not happen?

And since the police do admit they shot first ― and later admitted it was one of their bullets that wounded Gaines’ 5-year old son ― could it be that it was that first shot that hit her son’s arm? Could it be that’s why Gaines then fired on police?

Sure, that’s more speculation. Plausible, but speculation nonetheless.

But here’s the facts:

SHE DID NOTHING WRONG. SHE DID NOTHING ILLEGAL. You are not obligated to let the police or anyone into your home unless they have a search warrant. Not an arrest warrant.

The gun she possessed was legally obtained.

And as far as pointing a gun at the police? In the climate in which we live, if police officers kicked my door in, I would point a gun at them, too – because I would fear for my life and the lives of my family.

<em>Korryn Gaines with her son, Kodi, who was shot and wounded by police</em>.
Korryn Gaines with her son, Kodi, who was shot and wounded by police.

Based on what I’ve read, I see Korryn Gaines as a young African-American mother who was tired of all the rhetoric, the marching, and the rallying – which had up to no point made her son’s survival in this society a sure thing. I see her as a woman who decided it was time for her to defend her home with more than just words

No, she is not an insane woman, she’s a martyr for the cause.

And shame on you if you allow the media, the police, or anyone else, to make you see it any other way.

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