The Number Of Black Women Killed By Police This Year Has Nearly Reached Last Year’s Total Already
Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother, was shot and killed by the police in a Maryland apartment Monday. The number of black women killed by the police this year will likely surpass last year, as she’s the ninth black woman to be fatally shot by law enforcement in the U.S. this year and 10 total black women died from cop shootings in 2015, according to The Washington Post. Discussions about police brutality often center around young black men, but young black women are also affected, and their names, stories, and struggles need to be included.
The police went to Gaines’ apartment to serve warrants to her and a man living with her Monday afternoon. The Washington Post reports that the man was wanted on an assault charge, while Gaines failed to appear in court after a March traffic violation. The police claim Gaines was holding a gun when they entered the apartment, and after hours of trying to negotiate, she said she would kill them. The officers then opened fire and hit her multiple times, with her allegedly firing a few shots in return. Her five-year-old son was wounded and was taken to the hospital, but is expected to survive.
“We are of course extremely upset at an event like this,” police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said at press conference. “We do not like to be in a position of having to use lethal force, but this was a situation where our officers exercised patience for hours and hours.”
Unlike other recent police shootings, no video of the incident has surfaced, and it has yet to be determined whether any of the cops present were wearing body cameras. Activists brought back the #SayHerName hashtag to ensure Gaines’ story doesn’t go unheard, even as many of the details are unknown.
“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 Kimberlé Crenshaw, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, in her 2015 report on black women killed by cops, titled “Say Her Name.”
The fact that it’s only August and the number of black women fatally shot by the police has almost reached last year’s number proves that the problem isn’t going away, and is in fact getting worse. It’s true that more black men are killed by cops than black women (they made up 40 percent of those killed while unarmed in 2015, though they only make up 6 percent of the population), but all black people in America are affected by police brutality, proven by Gaines and the other women killed.
Janet Wilson, Jessica Williams, Laronda Sweatt, Kisha Arrone, Kisha Michael, India Beaty, Sahlah Ridgeway, and Deresha Armstrong are the other black women fatally shot by police this year, but we haven’t heard their names or their stories. Say their names and don’t erase black women from the conversation about law enforcement and the black community.