Wife of man killed by Winter Park police officers at wedding files lawsuit against department, city

The wife of a man who was killed by police at a wedding in Winter Park has filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city of Winter Park.

Mellissa Cruz filed the suit on behalf of her former husband, Daniel P Knight, who died on February 19, 2022, at his niece's wedding. Cruz is also suing Winter Park Police Chief Tim Volkerson, Police Sergeant Kenton Talton, and Police Officer Craig Campbell. 

The lawsuit alleges that the city of Winter Park failed to provide safety and security at the event center by not foreseeing the overserving of alcohol to the wedding patrons. 

A city employee at the wedding, called 911 stating that Knight was "acting violently, throwing people on the floor," and described him as "irate" the suit alleges. 

The suit states that the city employee named in the suit did not see Knight posing as a threat to anyone and claims she was not justified in calling the police to the wedding. 

When police arrived, Officer Campbell allegedly "aggressively" approached Knight, while both Officer Campbell and Sergeant Talton did not identify themselves as police officers, the suit alleges. 

The suit alleges the responding officers did not de-escalate the situation by asking Knight to put his hands behind his back. 

At some point, Officer Campbell grabbed Knight's sister which prompted Knight to hit Campbell, the suit alleges. 

After a brief scuffle, Sergeant Talton fired seven rounds into Knight. 

The suit states that both officers failed to follow the standard operating procedure regarding the use of force. 

Cruz is suing for damages related to the deprivation of Knight's constitutional rights that led to his wrongful death. 

In February 2023, it was announced that no charges would be filed in the shooting. The family said they'd consider a lawsuit in hopes of getting more information as to why Knight was shot and killed.

The suit was filed on February 15, 2024.