Sheriff calls out Winter Park PD over deadly shooting regarding release of body cam footage

The family of Daniel Knight is still waiting to see the body camera from the night Winter Park officers shot and killed the 39-year-old father of four on February 19.

Janisha Paul wants answers after seeing her uncle die at her wedding reception. 

"I’m shocked to see where we are today." 

She's talking about not having access to the officers' body cameras and not knowing the name of the officer who shot Knight. 

"It is ridiculous," family spokesperson Pastor Carl Soto says. "I understand that Marsy’s Law was designed to protect victims of actual crimes, and I do agree with that law itself. However, what Winter Park Police Department is doing is manipulating that law. By refusing to acknowledge the name of this officer."

Winter Park Police say the officer's name is protected under Florida law. 

"We are not releasing the body cam at this time," adds acting Winter Park Police Chief Pam Marcum.

It's all part of the investigation.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood was one of the first in the state to start releasing body camera video within 24 to 48 hours and says it's important for public perception. 

"Within 24 hours we release that footage because I believe the community needs to know, and by doing that, you quell all of these rumors that they shot the guy in the back, that the cops did all these horrible things that create all this community unrest." 

While he has nothing to do with the Winter Park investigation, he also says that an officer's name should be released. He doesn't agree with Winter Park police using Marsy's Law to withhold the officer's name from the public. 

"I think that’s a huge mistake. That’s not transparency. That’s not building community relations, trust, and legitimacy in your organization."

Marcy’s Law, passed in 2018, protects the name of a victim. Last year, a court ruled, the identities of police officers can also be protected.

Sheriff Chitwood and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri filed a brief in the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that Marsy’s Law wasn’t meant to protect officers.

"Nothing erodes the trust and competency of law enforcement that when you say, I’m not releasing that information. We’re paid by the taxpayers."

A Winter Park city spokesperson says the department is just following procedures for cases under investigation. 

Investigators say Knight knocked a police officer unconscious and then punched another officer. According to the police department, that officer used his Taser, and when it didn’t stop him, he shot Knight.

"You have to remember they’re people as well. And these people have gone out started their shifts in an attempt to protect us and serve our interests."

Attorney Luke Newman represents the Florida Police Benevolent Association, he says law enforcement officers have rights too.

"People want or demand the name of a police officer’s name, and they’re saying things like transparency, but I think you’re flying close to the flame of enabling retaliation instead."

But the family says they need answers, and they want the body cam. 

Jenisha says, "That the lies stop and the truth comes out, and we get justice for him."

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