Family of wedding guest shot, killed by Winter Park police hires attorney

WINTER PARK, Fla. — The family of the man shot and killed by Winter Park police while attending his niece’s wedding reception has hired a prominent law firm in their quest to get answers about the deadly shooting.

In an announcement Tuesday, attorneys with Morgan & Morgan said that they had been retained by the family of Daniel Knight.

“Our hearts are with the family of Daniel Knight. Morgan & Morgan has been retained to help Daniel’s family find out what happened and hold those responsible for his death accountable. His family and the public deserve to know why this man was shot at his niece’s wedding, and there is no reason why the police should withhold their body camera footage while they investigate,” the statement said.

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Members of Knight’s family said they have been “frustrated by media reports spreading false information” about events that lead up to the Feb. 19 shooting.

“Daniel was not violent and in no way deserved to be shot. We hope the Winter Park Police Department does the right thing and releases the body camera footage to show everyone what really happened,” the family said.

Read: Family of wedding guest shot, killed by Winter Park police refute department’s account

Winter Park Police said they were called to the Winter Park Event Center on Morse Boulevard around 9:30 p.m. after getting reports of a disturbance.

Investigators said when the first officer approached Knight, “there was a physical altercation that our officer was unconscious and incapacitated.” Police said that officer was punched in the face.

READ: Family says wedding guest shot and killed by Winter Park police was bride’s uncle

Additional officers arrived. According to police, a second officer tried to calm Knight without success. Police said the second officer used a stun gun on Knight, but it caused “no change in behavior,” and Knight continued to strike the officer.

Police said the second officer then shot Knight, who died later at a hospital.

Read: Winter Park mayor addresses when body cam footage of wedding reception shooting could be released

The 39-year-old’s family said Knight was not belligerent or violent during the reception at the Winter Park Events Center the night of the incident.

“He was never harmful, he was never aggressive,” said Knight’s niece, Janisha Knight.

The family said when they asked to see the body camera footage from the police officers involved, the department said the cameras were inoperable at the time of the shooting.

Read: Wedding guest shot, killed by Winter Park police after knocking officer unconscious, police say

The police department released their own statement refuting the claim.

“The officer’s body worn cameras were working properly and recorded the encounter. The recordings have been supplied to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their investigation. We will not provide any additional information or comments at this time,” the department’s statement read.

The officer involved in the shooting remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation by The Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.