The death of mother Korryn Gaines proves we need to #SayHerName
Yesterday, Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother, was killed following a tense interaction with cops. The details are unclear, with a number of questions still unanswered. The messiness of the event has reminded many why we need to continue, always, to #SayHerName.
The details of the shooting are murky, with many doubting the released reports. According to the Baltimore Sun, there was what’s been called an “hours-long standoff” at Korryn’s apartment. The cops originally went to the home to serve arrest warrants on Korryn and a man who lived in the apartment. Korryn was being charged with failing to appear in court from charges placed against her this spring for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and traffic violations. The man escaped with a child, but was then caught by police. Korryn, however, was found sitting on the floor with her child and a gun. Cops shot at her, she fired back, and then she was killed. Her child was also injured, but we aren’t sure at the moment who caused the injury.
This is not fun to talk about. But we have to talk about it.
Here’s what you need to know about Korryn Gaines’s death
1. People are questioning the original charges.
Many are doubting the validity of the original charges that caused the event in the first place.
Those concerned about the validity of these charges are citing the commonality of people of color for being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, charges which are both vague and can be applied seemingly at the will of the officer.
2. Something seems to be missing.
It’s also come out that some believe Korryn’s social media presence was mysteriously wiped following the death, leading many to wonder what her accounts held.
It was later found out that they appear to have held videos of the encounter. Major content warning if you choose to watch, as it could be very triggering.
3. People are also *extremely* worried about Korryn’s child.
Korryn’s 5-year-old was injured during the violent event, and though we don’t know which side caused the injury, we do know that this is not something that will be easy to recover from. In a word, it’s heartbreaking.
4. We should remember the people who have pointed guns at officers and survived.
The entire thing with law enforcement is supposed to be that they are better able to handle stressful, volatile circumstances than the rest of us. While we may totally panic and shoot someone out of fear, the intensive training, education, and preparation that police go through is supposed to ensure that they are able to scale down a violent situation and absolutely not shoot or kill someone unless they have to.
It’s not uncommon for white people who point guns at cops survive the event, so many are left wondering, time and time again: What is it about black people that is so inherently scary that they don’t seem to be given the chance to do the same?
5. It’s a reminder that police brutality affects women, too.
When we talk police brutality, or the general murkiness of our justice system, we tend to focus on the experiences and narratives of men. However, as the deaths of women like Korryn (and the extremely recent death of Skye Mockabee, a trans woman of color) prove, we need to #SayHerName, too, and make sure the deaths of black women and women of color don’t go unnoticed.