‘Gross Neglect’: Cleveland Detective Previously Under Fire for Racist Text Messages, Killing Black Teen, Is Finally Suspended for Not Investigating Cases

A Cleveland police detective who previously made headlines for sending racist text messages and was involved in the shooting death of a Black teenager in 2005 has been suspended for 10 days for failing to properly investigate more than a dozen cases assigned to him in 2019.

Detective John Kraynik, 56, engaged in “conduct that would reasonably tend to diminish the esteem of the Divisor of Police,” according to a suspension letter dated May 24. Kraynik committed a “gross neglect” of his duty when he failed to properly investigate 15 cases assigned to him between January and June 2019. Twelve cases lacked a felony review form and 13 lacked a final clean-up report.

“Director of Public Safety Karrie D. Howard announces that a Cleveland Police Detective has been suspended without pay for ten (10) days following an internal investigation which began after it was discovered that he failed to properly investigate and/or complete multiple cases assigned to him,” the city of Cleveland said in a statement released last week.

The suspension without pay comes after a review by the Department of Public Safety and following an April 23 disciplinary hearing.

The detective was hired in 1996 and is currently assigned to the majority Black Fourth District.

Kraynik’s conduct has landed him in hot water before. In 2018, investigators discovered during an internal investigation that the detective had used the N-word to describe Ohio State University football players in text messages sent to a retired officer.

“All that ‘n——r flash’, once again, losing out to good old-fashioned hard-nosed football,” read one text. Another two texts read, “F——-g n——-s can’t play qb” and “F——-g n——-s!”

The racist comments were made on three different occasions in October and November. Investigators came across the messages while investigating another officer on an unrelated matter.

Because the messages were sent from Kraynik’s personal phone while he was off duty, he faced no punishment but was sent a letter ordering him to attend diversity training.

In September 2005, Kraynik and his then-partner Phillip Habeeb shot and killed a 15-year-old Black boy in his own bedroom during a predawn search for evidence related to a pizza delivery robbery. Officers claimed the teen, Brandon McCloud, had emerged from a closet in the dark bedroom with a knife in his hand before they shot him 10 times. A grand jury declined to indict the two officers. The teen’s family has disputed the officers’ account of events, claiming evidence shows McCloud was on his knees when he was shot.

Brandon McCloud was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2005. (Photo: Family photo)
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