On August 1, 2016 three Baltimore County police officers knocked on the door of Korryn Gaines to serve a warrant for her arrest. Her crime? Not appearing in court for previous traffic violations in March of this year. Her punishment? Death.
With African-Americans being killed at the hands of police on a daily basis, Korryn Gaines’s name was not mentioned by any major news network until social justice and Black Lives Matter advocates on Twitter picked up the story, causing Korryn’s death to go viral. Only after the Twittersphere began calling out for justice did major networks like Fox News pick up an opinion of the incident.
The major media, including Fox, wanted to paint a very specific picture of this now deceased 23-year-old mother of two. Deliberately using very selective phasing in order to frame her in a negative light in an attempt to justify the police for not only killing Korryn, but injuring her son as well. Statements such as: Korryn using her child as a shield for bullets, a barricade at the front door, Korryn shooting at the officers first, threatening the policemen’s lives, holding her son hostage, Korryn having a shotgun with her and the worst of all, stating that they were unsure if it was the police who shot the five-year-old on accident, or if it was the irate and irrational Korryn that shot her own son.
The majority of those constructed claims have been discredited by the Baltimore Police Department themselves. In fact, nowhere in the police report or statement to the public did they state anything about Korryn using her son as a shield. It was the police that shot at the mother and son first, not the other way around. The barricade blocking the front door? That was disproven by a video Korryn uploaded to her Facebook hours before she was killed. It showed no blockade of any kind in front of the doorway allowing you to see the officers head to toe. The so called barrier was the metal chain securing the door open only a few inches. In a video released to social media networks today, the five-year-old boy – the only living survivor, not wearing a uniform – states that he was not forced to stay with his mother or held hostage, he wanted to stay with her because that is where he felt safe.
Although those accusations have now been proven an obviously false representation of the environment that day, the others are still up for debate. We do not know if Korryn threatened the officer’s lives with a shotgun. We do not know if Korryn shot her son on purpose, on accident, or if that bullet if fact came from a policeman’s standard issue Glock Pistol. Why do we not know the answers to these questions? The three police officers sent to issue the warrant for her arrest did not have “functioning body cameras.” The body cameras on the police called for backup were either nonexistent or nonfunctioning. As for the videos Korryn uploaded to Facebook the day of her shooting? Facebook has permanently deleted two of them and, at the request of the Baltimore Police Department, Korryn’s profile was blocked/shut down midway through the incident.
How are civilians supposed to prove their innocence, prove they were mistreated, abused and harassed by police if the most significant form of evidence the police can provide is “nonfunctioning” and your own evidence is blocked and deleted from social media at the snap of the your murderer's fingers. How will Korryn Gaines receive justice for the loss of her life, the loss of her future. How will her one and five-year-old children receive justice for the murder of their mother? If Korryn’s death is pushed aside and the embellished stories are held as true, how are any of us expected to survive in this social justice system?