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Baltimore Woman Fatally Shot by Police After Failing to Appear in Court for Traffic Violation

korrynKorryn Gaines, a Baltimore resident and mother of two, was fatally shot this week by police officers in her home.

Three officers with the Baltimore County police arrived at Gaines’s apartment at approximately 9:20 A.M. on Monday to serve warrants to her as well as a man who also resided there.

After 10 minutes of knocking and no response from either individual in the house, police obtained a key to the apartment and opened to door to find Gaines sitting on the floor with her five-year-old son in one arm and a shotgun in the other.

Police report that after several hours of attempted negotiations, Gaines raised the gun at officers and told them that she would kill them if they did not leave. The officers opened fire in response.

“Perceiving not only her actions, but the words she used, we discharged one round at her, in turn she fired several rounds back at us,” Police Chief Jim Johnson said during a news conference on Monday night. “We fired again at her, striking and killing her. Tragically in this circumstance, the child that was also in the dwelling was struck by a round.”

Police later apprehended the man also being sought, who fled the home with a one-year-old child.

Surprisingly, the warrant held by police for the arrest of Gaines wasn’t for a serious crime. She received one of the some 41 million speeding tickets issued each year by police. However, she did not appear in court, resulting in the warrant for her arrest.

Police in Rochester alone have issued a total of 603 tickets just to people who have violated the Move Over Law in the Troop E region, which encompasses 10 counties.

The citation is for failure to exercise due care when passing a stopped, standing, or parked emergency vehicle.

The situation has become dangerous for many professionals, including New York State Trooper Dan Irland.

“If I hear a high tone when I’m typing up my ticket, I’ll know to check my mirror because there’s a fast approaching car,” said Irland.

Officers and state troopers have to be extra careful when issuing tickets, especially considering all those individuals who violate the Move Over Law. However, some are saying that Gaines shouldn’t have had to be so careful in her own home.

According to Johnson, it is unclear whether the department’s body camera program — just several weeks old — captured any footage of the incident.

But that hasn’t stopped the public outcry for justice regarding Gaines’s death and her son’s injuries.

Protests under the “Say Her Name” movement have been organized in response to the incident by activist groups across the country. The movement seeks to bring attention to black women who have been killed by police, and who are far less likely to receive the same media coverage as men.

“Although Black women are routinely killed, raped, and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.

Gaines is the ninth black woman shot and killed by police so far in 2016, according to a Washington Post database tracking fatal police shootings. The number is set to surpass the total of 10 Black women shot by police in 2015.

“Inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives, and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combating racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color,” said Crenshaw.

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