I-TEAM: Cleveland police could punish officer who’d been shot

I-Team
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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found a Cleveland police officer could now get hit with internal discipline for what happened the night she got shot twice.

Months after the incident, officer Jennifer Kilnapp faces punishment for not turning on her body camera.

In July, she nearly lost her life searching for a man with a gun. Now, she has to answer to an administrative charge concerning her body camera not recording the incident.

Her partner’s camera captured the gunfire after a woman called 911 to get police to a boarding house on East 81st Street.

Police said a man with a gun opened fire as officers found him hiding in a bathroom. Video recorded the gunfire and a quick, chaotic confrontation.

But, now, officer Kilnapp’s father is speaking out.

John Kilnapp worked for decades as a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“My daughter called me and said, ‘Dad, I just got hit with a potential suspension.’ I thought she was joking,” he said.

We found John Kilnapp disgusted to learn his daughter could get suspended for something related to the night she got shot.

He added, “Go from insulted, to angry, to here’s my daughter who’s got many more bullet holes in her body than she did when my wife and I gave her life.”

We met Jennifer Kilnapp briefly when she left the hospital days after the shooting.

She told a FOX 8 photographer, “Happy that I’m safe. Going home to my family.”

Her father says she thought she had turned on her body camera. She and her partner had a routine for turning on their cameras at the same time.

John Kilnapp also said, “Rules are in place, so you don’t have people randomly turning them on and off. But, you have to look at each individual one on a case-by-case basis.”

The I-TEAM investigated what usually happens in Cleveland Police hearings for officers accused of not turning on a body camera. The I-TEAM checked more than a dozen cases of officers put up on internal charges for that. More than half got a letter of re-instruction, and that is considered non-disciplinary. Others, though, got suspended without pay.

Officer Kilnapp has not been disciplined for this before. So, at most, she could be suspended one day.

Of course, we also sent questions to the Chief’s office. A spokesperson indicated we could expect a statement from the department, but, as of late Thursday, we had not received a response.

John Kilnapp told us his daughter still plans on going back to work as a police officer, but she’s fighting the possible discipline.

“She literally put her life on the line,” he said.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutors filed a series of charges against the suspect, Darryl Borden. Records show he is sitting in jail. A trial is set for June.

We’ll update this story if we hear anything from City Hall or Cleveland Police.

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