Questions still surround Monday’s killing of Korryn Gaines by Baltimore County police, and a major LGBT organization is joining the call to action for an investigation.
The National LGBTQ Task Force called the killing of Gaines “outrageous” in a statement issued Wednesday. Gaines was a 23-year-old mother who was killed by police after they reportedly came to her Randallstown, Md., home to serve her and her boyfriend with warrants on unrelated charges. According to the police account, Gaines was wanted for "failure to appear" in court on a series of traffic violations. Gaines attempted to broadcast the encounter live on Facebook and Instagram, but the social media company shut down her accounts at the request of Baltimore County police.
“We call on the state and federal authorities to get to the truth behind what happened and to bring those individuals to justice,” said Task Force deputy executive director Russell Roybal.
Conflicts over the facts of the case began with the initial police statements saying the officers entered using a key and saw Gaines pointing a shotgun. But later reports revealed that police had to kick the door in after using the key because of a chain lock. Video submitted to social media by Gaines’s family of her 5-year-old son giving his account has also made the rounds. Gaines’s son was injured by gunfire.
Gaines is the ninth black woman killed by police this year, according to the release from the Task Force. The social media campaign #SayHerName brings visibility to women victims of violence, who tend to receive less media attention than male victims.
This same week, the Movement for Black Lives issued a comprehensive policy plan with a focus on both reduction of criminalization of black people and changes in police forces. The group calls for the decriminalization of black youth, demilitarization of police, and several other measures — many focused on the lives of LGBT people. But major LGBT organizations haven’t been as quick to show support for the movement, despite the connections and intersection oppressions faced by LGBT people, people of color, and especially LGBT people of color. At press time, the Task Force appeared to be the only major LGBT group to have issued a statement on Gaines's death.
“Far too often, police practices are applied unevenly — a situation involving a white person brandishing a gun is deescalated without gunfire, but if the person is Black, there is almost always, a much different and deadlier outcome,” Roybal said in the release.