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Police Brutality and its Impact on Families

Police terror is not a new phenomenon, especially in minority communities. However, the public forgets that the impact does not stop at the murdered individual, it extends to the family and community of those lost. The grief does not have time to run its course before media coverage, trials, and protests. The frantic pace leaves mothers in emotional turmoil, with every new instance of police terror picking at the scabs left by their own children’s tragedies. The Coalition of Concerned Mothers gives these affected women the time and support to heal in solidarity. It might be encouraging group activities to have happy moments after tragedy, but it is also getting public policy to sit up and pay attention to the devastation that things like qualified immunity can cause. We need to consider how to not only stop the carnage, but allow the families and communities time to heal before being beset with criticism and trauma again.


Rhanda Dormeus Retired psychiatric registered nurse, mother of Korryn Gaines, and member of the Coalition for Concerned Mothers, an activist group that is a platform for mothers to lift up the names of those that have been lost to police violence, and to demand accountability. After becoming a victim of the unbalanced legal system, and a proximate victim of police violence, she is speaking out against police brutality especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Quotes and Hashtags

  • The police, in order to serve a warrant for a traffic violation, had a key to Gaines’s apartment made and did not immediately acknowledge their status. Due to this and the fact that she had been traumatized by treatment by the police previously, her life was taken due to the fact that she would not come out in a timely manner. #PoliceArentSocialWorkers
  • Even though the authorities told Gaines’s parents that they would send in audio recordings to her, the nature of her posts suggests that those recordings were not delivered. #PoliceAccountability
  • The police would not allow her mother to go into the situation to communicate with her daughter to deescalate the situation.
  • After trying to get the police in contact with Gaines’s therapist, they hung up on the therapist and confiscated Rhanda Dormeus’s phone. It was later revealed that, in the two days that they had her phone, they were responding to family and friends about the situation as her.
  • Gaines had her children and her fiance with her. In the crossfire, their five year old son was hit twice.
  • Gaines was shot through a wall, puncturing both her lungs and her aorta. After that, the officer that fired the fatal shot engaged her two to three more times after she was down. All of this came out in the trial.
  • Being so close, and not being able to do something, even though she was ready and willing to talk to her daughter, Rhanda felt that the police were just making excuses as to why they did not want
  • Gaines was making a snack when she was shot.
  • When Dormeus was finally able to speak to someone about what was happening with her daughter, the response was “she’s gone”
  • They then tried to blame the mother for shooting the five year old. In the trial it came out that he was actually hit in the elbow by one officer’s fire, and in the cheek by a bullet ricochet. He now has a permanent battle scar. #PoliceAccountability #GenerationalTrauma
  • The level of aggression that Gaines’s fiance witnessed led him to assume that they were going to kill his wife.
  • Dormeus is a Psychiatric RN and could see that her daughter was having a crisis.
  • This was evident in the fact that Dormeus called her daughter’s therapist, and because of the traumatic events that caused her daughter to lose her pregnancy with twins due to mistreatment in custody.
  • Systematic racism is evident in things like the lead paint poisoning Gaines was diagnosed with and the amount of similar incidents in areas such as Baltimore. #SystemicRacism
  • The ensuing trials and investigations found that the shots fired were in violation of the Gaines’s civil rights, and the family was awarded damages for the battery on Korryn and her son. #PoliceAccountability. 
  • Thankfully, the family was able to get excellent legal counsel for their case, but they could not take the
  • They did find out that some of the police reports were inconsistent with the facts and findings of the situation such as the fact that, even though they said the shotgun was fired twice, there was no gunshot residue on Korryn’s person, meaning she was not the one to fire it.
  • The media still does not have all the information and evidence out
  • One year to the day, the judge overturned their awarded damages, citing qualified immunity. #PoliceAccountability
  • The Coalition of Concerned Mothers organizes politically and socially to give mothers a platform to lift up their children’s names to incite change, and find camaraderie and empathy in women that have gone through the same tragedies. #CoalitionofConcernedMothers
  • There is no room for healing in the trials and investigations that follow a tragedy like this, and to see more Black and Brown bodies being massacred is picking at a scab.
  • At the end of the day, we need to see some accountability. If a nurse gives the wrong medication they are going to be held accountable. The police are public servants, paid by tax dollars, and have less accountability than most other careers that deal with people’s lives. #PoliceAccountability
  • What’s more important, a building or a person? It may not have been the best response, but are you listening now? #ProtestBringsPublicity #StopPoliceTerror

Hena Zuberi

  • The levels of trauma the family has gone through spanned from the murder of a loved one to the revoking of the damages awarded is something that the courts were fighting to uphold.
  • The movement of Korryn to the kitchen to make a sandwich for her child, who had been in a traumatizing situation for almost six hours, was seen as a tactical move by the mother against the police force. #PoliceAccountability #DemilitarizePolice
  • People often do not understand the legal and investigative effort that goes into proving a case against police. The layers of institutional protection and legal and financial barriers to getting justice against the police is something that can prevent people from ever seeing justice.
  • Contact congress and action groups to get this resolution passed.
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