Cleveland officer sues rookie partner for friendly fire

By MARK GILLISPIE, Associated Press

CLEVELAND, AP — A Cleveland police officer says another officer panicked and shot him “blindly” when they confronted a man standing in a boarding house bathroom with a gun, according to a federal lawsuit.

Jennifer Kilnapp’s lawsuit, filed last week, said her July 2020 rookie partner Bailey Gannon fled down the stairs after opening the second-floor bathroom door without warning, where a man stood with a handgun at his side, pointed at the ground.

Gannon “blindly” fired a shot above his head as he retreated and shot Kilnapp, who was standing near the top of the stairs, according to the lawsuit.

The bullet “passed through his forearm before fragmenting in his biceps and chest, lodging near his spine,” according to the lawsuit. “She thought she was going to die.

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Two years later, Kilnapp has nerve damage that causes pain in his dominant arm and wrist, according to the lawsuit. She was unable to return to duty due to her injuries and PTSD, and, according to the lawsuit, it is unclear when she will.

Cleveland.com first reported the lawsuit last week.

The City of Cleveland and Police Chief Dornat Drummond are also named as defendants. The lawsuit said the city and police department failed to adequately train officers, especially new officers, in the use of force, interventions for people with mental health crises, and coping techniques. de-escalation.

The lawsuit claims Gannon falsely told investigators that Darryl Borden, 44, was holding a gun in both hands, pointing it at the door when Gannon opened it without warning of the presence of police.

Borden was arrested that night and later charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. A review by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation showed Borden fired two bullets into a wall opposite where he was standing but not at the officers, according to the lawsuit.

The attempted murder charges were dropped in June 2021, and Borden pleaded guilty to attempted felony assault on a police officer.

Borden was sentenced to seven to 10 years in state prison. The following October, he was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for unlawful possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. An entry on the record in the federal case said the sentence would be served consecutively to the state case.

Borden’s attorney in the state case did not return phone messages seeking comment on Monday.

Cleveland spokespersons did not return messages seeking comment.

Gannon hung up on a reporter Monday afternoon when asked to comment on the lawsuit. Court records do not indicate whether he has an attorney.

While body camera footage of Gannon recorded him saying he might have shot Kilnapp, police officials did not tell Kilnapp she had been shot by Gannon until the spring of last year, according to the lawsuit.

Kilnapp was suspended in March 2021 for failing to turn on her body camera that night, while Gannon was unpunished for “blindly shooting over her head while running the other way, even though his actions flagrantly violated the most basic gun safety rules,” according to the lawsuit.

Gannon, in an annual performance review three months after filming Kilnapp, was described as “exceeding expectations” while a supervisor described the filming as a “minor setback”, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit noted that Gannon’s father is a Cleveland police sergeant.

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