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Baltimore County files appeal in Korryn Gaines lawsuit

Baltimore County government has filed a notice of appeal of the $38 million award in the death of Korryn Gaines, who was fatally shot by police in 2016.

The county already filed a series of post-trial motions asking a judge to set aside last month’s jury decision and order a new trial, or reduce the amount of the financial award. The county’s attorneys have argued that the financial award — believed to be one of the largest in a Baltimore-area police shooting case — was based more on “guesswork, speculation and sympathy” than evidence.

Those post-trial motions will be considered in Baltimore County Circuit Court before an appeal would be heard in the Court of Special Appeals. The notice of appeal was filed on Monday.

Gaines’ family had sued the county and police Cpl. Royce Ruby Jr. after she was fatally shot following a six-hour standoff on Aug. 1, 2016.

County police officers went to Gaines’ Randallstown apartment that day to serve warrants on Gaines and her fiance. The fiance left with their infant daughter, Karsyn, while Gaines holed up in the apartment with her then-5-year-old son, Kodi.

Gaines, who was armed with a shotgun, broadcast parts of the standoff on social media before police had her accounts shut down. Kodi eventually went into the kitchen and Gaines later followed. Ruby said he fired into the apartment and through a wall after he said he saw the barrel of the shotgun rise.

Ruby said he heard Gaines’ gun go off. He entered the kitchen and fired at Gaines three more times.

Gaines, 26, was killed and Kodi was injured by two bullets that ricocheted and hit him.

The jury was asked to determine whether Ruby’s first shot — which was determined to be fatal — was objectively reasonable given the situation. The jury found that the shot was not reasonable and therefore violated the civil rights of both Gaines and Kodi.

The jury awarded more than $38 million — most of it to Kodi ($32.8 million) and Karsyn ($4.5 million), with smaller amounts to Gaines’ estate, her mother and her father.

Ruby was not criminally charged and was later promoted from the rank of officer to corporal.

Lawyers for the Gaines family have not yet submitted their responses to the county’s post-trial motions.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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