Daniels v. City of Pittsburgh et. al.

Current Revsion Submitted: Fri, 10/14/2022 - 14:00
Submitted by Jane Clayton on Thu, 10/13/2022 - 16:36

Daniels v. City of Pittsburgh et. al. addresses the case of Mark Daniels, who was running away when he was shot in the back and killed by a Pittsburgh police officer. Mr. Daniels was not armed but the officer believed that Mr. Daniels had shot at him earlier the same day. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants relying in large part on the officer's unsworn statements in his use of force report even though there was evidence in the record contradicting these statements.

NPAP’s brief focuses on the fact that officers providing statements during internal affairs investigations or in the wake of critical incidents may be incentivized to protect themselves and their fellow officers from suffering the consequences of their misconduct by constructing a narrative in which their actions were justified. Research has shown that there are some officers who not only misrepresent facts when giving unsworn statements, but do so when giving sworn testimony, including when they apply for warrants and testify during depositions and at trial.

We argue that courts must consider whether a rational fact-finder could disbelieve the officer’s statements based on all of the evidence. Here, the District Court failed to apply the correct summary judgment standard because it accepted the officers’ self-serving statements without questioning the credibility of the officers or the veracity of their statements.

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