Written by Gabriella Nolan
Scrolling through Korryn Gaines’ Instagram, @shesyourmajesty, your fingers pass pictures that mirror your own page: Videos of friends laughing in the kitchen; a family barbecue; selfies of an on-point outfit; cooking masterpieces; and, inspirational memes displaying quotes of love, equality, and happiness.
That is, until you get to May 23.
On this day, Gaines shared with the world her experience with the Baltimore County police that resulted in physical abuse, a miscarriage, forged charges, and the sabotaging of her case.
These pictures and videos display her pain, hurt, confusion and injustice by the hands of the police, which followed her until her death on Aug. 1, 2016, when the Baltimore County police fatally shot her.
The 23-year-old’s Instagram account brings to surface the truth behind her untimely murder.
On Monday, August 1, 2016, three officers came to her Randallstown, Md., apartment at 9:20 A.M. to issue her an arrest warrant for traffic violations (it is important to note that these violations appear to be trumped up charges based upon her posted videos of the incident.)
Upon Gaines’ inaction to come out of the apartment, the Baltimore County police enter with keys obtained from the landlord. As the police entered, they discovered Gaines holding a rifle. This promoted the police to call a SWAT team, which resulted in a more than five-hour standoff.
At 3 P.M., it is stated that Gaines allegedly says, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you!” which prompted an officer to fire his weapon, spurring Gains to fire back. It was this action that eventually lead to the police shooting both Gaines and her five-year-old son.
Reports of the encounter between Gaines and the police are based upon police press conferences. However, Gaines’ Instagram reveals the truth about her encounter. Her Instagram is so prominent — in the case that the public did not have access to her account as it was mysteriously deleted at the time of her death, only recently being reactivated.
Her last positing shows her incident with the police. The video films her son in red flannel pajamas replying to Gaine’s question, “Who is outside?” The five-year-old boy answers shyly while playing with purple clay, “The police.”
Gaines poses another question towards her son, “And what they trying to do?” The five year-old’s eyes dart back and forth as he answers, “They trying to kill us.”
Korryn’s Instagram proves that her last encounter with the police was meticulously orchestrated since March of this year. Scrolling through her posts, you discovered that her fatal encounter with the police is actually based upon months of police harassing her and ultimately sabotaging her case.
On March 15, she posts a series of 84 videos from a traffic stop depicting the horrors of her arrest with her children in the car. Despite, peacefully complying with seven officers in the process of a car stop, she was charged with a series of traffic violations, that included operating an unregistered motor vehicle, driving without current tags, and driving an uninsured vehicle, among several others.
A post describes how her unlawful arrest resulted in physical abuse from the police which required medical attention. Afterwards, she was put in jail for two consecutive days without food, water, or a phone call prompting another hospital visit.
She was also charged with resisting arrest. Yet none of the above violations hold jail time or an arrest. However, she writes that her activism against police brutality and the lack of accountability — particularly in regards to the African American community rendered the police to retaliate and steal her license plate, which led to her being pulled over.
A post describes how her unlawful arrest resulted in physical abuse from the police which required medical attention. Afterwards, she was put in jail for two consecutive days without food, water, or a phone call prompting another hospital visit. It was during one of these hospital visits in which she discovered she was pregnant and had a miscarriage due to the abuse she suffered in custody.
Her encounter with the police unfortunately does not stop there. A series of 10 videos posted shows her efforts on March 16 in trying to retrieve missing paperwork from her arrest on March 10.
She calmly tells a police officer that her documents, which consisted of discharge and court order letters, were mysteriously taken from her locker while detained. The court order papers were particularly important in that they document the abuse and duress that she suffered in custody and her visit to the hospital.
Her attempts to retrieve her papers were met with a series of mazes, middlemen and lies.
When requesting to see a supervisor, she was told that the supervisor did not want to see her. In response, Gaines calls the Baltimore County police legal division where they simply lied and told her there is “no court order.”
Miraculously, when she replies that her attempt to retrieve her documents were on camera, she was granted only the first page.
She wrote, “I could’ve died in a jail cell like Sandra Bland and the rest and my own people wasn’t gonna speak up about it. So here I am. This is real life.”
I am going to speak up for you, Korryn. Readers of this article are going to speak up for you. We will also speak up for the countless others killed by police such as Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and unfortunately many others. U.S. police kill Black people at disproportional rates. African Americans account for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they are just 13 percent of this country’s population.
It is not because her dad is Muslim that we need to stand up for Korryn Gaines and the others killed unjustly by police.
Rather, it is part of our faith as Muslims to stand up for those who suffer from injustice and oppression no matter their background.
As stated in the Quran verse 135 of Suran Al Nisa:
“O ye who believe. Be persistently standing firm in justice.”
Surat Al-Ma’iah, verse 8 states:
“O you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah as witnesses in justice and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness.”
Sahih Bukhari, Narrated by Anas ra, states:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “by preventing him from oppressing others.”
Standing up for the oppressed in any capacity is an act of worship. So when you see a Black Lives Matter protest, join in. Take time out from your daily routine to vocalize your dissent for a biased criminal justice system that does not respect all lives.
By taking a stand, you also stand up to the oppressors and others committing injustice, showing that this behavior, which unjustly strips children of their mothers and people of their future, is never acceptable.
Stand up without the same tactics of the oppressors, stand up without violence. Out of love and respect for God’s creation and our community, show the oppressors that such actions must change, and measures of accountability must be put in place.
Uplift your voice to demand change — because silence sides with the oppressors.