Family of Man Killed in 2022 Police Shooting Sues City of Winter Park

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The family of Daniel Patrick Knight, the man who was fatally shot by a Winter Park police officer in 2022, is suing the City of Winter Park.

According to Winter Park Police Department reports, officers responded to a 911 call about an assault at Winter Park Events Center on the evening of Feb. 19, 2022. The officers attempted to calm the situation and separate Knight from a guest during the wedding of his niece. It was later revealed that the guest was Knight’s sister. The police report states that Knight attacked one of the officers, knocking him unconscious. A second officer tased Knight and later shot him during an altercation. Knight was transported to Advent Health Orlando hospital where he died from his injuries.

The police department allowed both officers to return to work based on a preliminary report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). No criminal charges were filed against the officers after the final report by the State Attorney’s office determined that they had not violated Florida Law.

On Feb. 22, 2022, Knight’s family and their lawyer held a press conference demanding the release of the FDLE investigation into the incident and disputed the police department’s account. While family members admit Knight, who was unarmed, had been drinking during the wedding, they claimed that the officers’ actions provoked Knight while his family tried to intervene.

According to a WESH News report, the lawsuit was filed last Thursday and claims that officers failed to de-escalate the situation, and that the officer who fired the shots used “unjustifiable deadly force.” The lawsuit also alleges that, when Knight’s sister stood in front of him to “protect him from inappropriate law enforcement intervention,” an officer grabbed her arm and Knight hit the officer to defend her.

Members of Knight’s family frequently attended Winter Park City Commission meetings in the months after the shooting, addressing commissioners and attempting to tell their side of the story during public comments. Mayor Phil Anderson stated at the meetings that the city was not able to comment due to pending litigation.

According to news reports, the lawsuit also accuses the city of negligence, claiming that Knight was “overserved alcohol” during the wedding, and accuses the Winter Park Police Department of failing to properly train and discipline officers. Winter Park Police Department responded to a request for comment with the following statement:

“We cannot comment on matters which are in current litigation. Our agency will not release a statement at this time.”

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