CLEVELAND — A Cleveland police officer is suing the Cleveland Police Department, the city, police chief and her former partner.
In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Officer Jennifer Kilnapp claims her partner used excessive force when responding to an incident in July of 2020 that resulted in him shooting her.
The lawsuit states, "On the morning of July 20, 2020 rookie Cleveland Police Officer Bailey Gannon shot his partner. Screaming as he fled in panic down a flight of stairs from a man who was neither chasing nor threatening him, 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 his partner, whom he had just run right past."
“We want some recognition from the city and from the police department that what happened to Jenny is wrong, and we want some recognition that the city needs to put it right,” said Matthew Besser, of Bolek-Besser-Glesius who is representing Kilnapp.
Besser said Kilnapp was shot in the forearm and the bullet fragmented, going through her bicep, armpit, chest and then lodging into her spine. She had to get surgery to remove it and still suffers with PTSD and nerve damage.
“Jenny still can’t return to work. She hasn’t been cleared to return to work because of her physical injuries and because of the harm she has suffered,” said Besser. “It’s unclear whether she’ll ever be able to return to work as a police officer.”
The lawsuit claims despite forensic evidence from BCI and homicide detectives early on in the case that suggested it was one of Gannon’s bullets that struck Kilnapp, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office charged the man in the home for attempted murder.
“Jenny’s partner shot her, the city charged someone else with shooting her, and the city did not disclose to Jenny that her partner shot her for something like 9 months, and it was almost a year before the city dropped the attempted murder charge,” he said.
Besser noted, to add insult to injury, it was Kilnapp who was disciplined after the incident.
“They said that she failed to turn on her body camera when she went to the scene,” he said. “Usually, more often than not it’s a slap on the wrist it’s a verbal warning. For Jenny, the city suspended her and yet nothing happened to Bailey Gannon for shooting his partner.”
Besser noted the main reason for the lawsuit: his client, Kilnapp, wanted to make sure what happened to her never happens to another officer.
“When they go out in the field, they know they can trust their officer to have their back and to not be a danger to them,” he said.
News 5 reached out to the city, Cleveland Police and the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association for comment but haven’t heard back. It is policy to not comment on pending legal matters, though.