Ronald Bemis (plaintiff) brought a civil-rights action against police officers Tim Edwards, Leo Lotito, Perry Aldrich, and the City of Bend, Oregon (defendants). Bemis alleged that the defendant-officers had used excessive force against him in an incident that occurred outside the home of Gary Estep. Bemis sought to introduce into evidence the recording of a 911 call that Estep had made while the incident was occurring. On the call, Estep stated, “Now there’s a cop beating the shit out of the guy now.” However, at one point, Estep stated on the call that he could not personally describe to the dispatcher what was occurring in front of his house. In addition, the 911 recording reflected that Estep was repeating to the dispatcher the statement of another person’s voice in the background of the call. Estep did not testify at trial. The district court excluded Estep’s statement in the 911 recording, finding that Bemis had not carried his burden of establishing that Estep had personal knowledge of the events taking place outside his home. Bemis appealed.