Cleveland police officer sues City of Cleveland over shooting by her partner that the City wrongly pinned on an African American man
Cleveland, Ohio, July 13, 2022 / Today, Cleveland Police Officer Jennifer Kilnapp filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, the Chief of Police, and her former partner Bailey Gannon stemming from Gannon shooting her on July 20, 2020.
With just six months in the field, Gannon panicked when he saw a man holding a gun. Though the man made no aggressive actions or statements, Gannon screamed and fled past Kilnapp down a flight of stairs. As he ran, Gannon pointed his gun over his head—in the opposite direction he was running—and began firing blindly behind him. One of his bullets hit Kilnapp.
The day of the shooting, Cleveland detectives and Ohio BCI conducted forensic examination of the scene that showed Gannon was likely the shooter. Yet CDP and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office quickly charged an African American man with a history of mental health issues named Darryl Borden with attempted murder, wrongly claiming he shot Kilnapp. The Prosecutor’s Office did not drop the attempted murder charges against him until June 2021—almost a year after the shooting.
Although investigators concluded that Gannon lied about his role in the shooting, the City did not discipline him for lying, let alone for shooting his partner. To the contrary, three months after the shooting the City rated Gannon’s overall performance as exceeding expectations. His supervisor called the shooting a “minor set back” for Gannon.
It wasn’t minor for Kilnapp. Gannon’s bullet ripped through her forearm before fragmenting in her bicep and chest, lodging near her spine. She believed she was going to die. Nearly two years later, she still has nerve damage in her dominant arm, wrist, and hand. Far worse, she suffers from PTSD. She has frequently relived the feeling she was about to die and experienced recurring nightmares. She is still unable to return to duty. She might never be.
Kilnapp is represented by the Cleveland civil rights lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius LLC. Said lead counsel Matthew D. Besser, “Any gun user knows one of the most basic rules of gun safety is that you never point a gun at someone without knowing who might be in the line of fire. By choosing to ignore that basic gun-safety rule, Gannon caused devastating consequences. Unfortunately, his conduct reflects CDP’s ongoing culture of excessive force and its longstanding failure to adequately train rookies on the appropriate use-of-force.”
The case is Kilnapp v. City of Cleveland, et al., N.D. Ohio Case No. 1:22-cv-01225.