Quantcast
Connect with us

Florida officer who killed retiree during role-play exercise accused of prior excessive force

Published

on

A Florida police officer who mistakenly killed a 73-year-old woman during a role-play exercise this week has been the subject of excessive force complaints in the past, according to a police official and media reports.

Punta Gorda Police Officer Lee Coel is on administrative leave after firing a live round that struck and killed Mary Knowlton on Tuesday night at an event hosted by the police department for about 35 members of the community.

ADVERTISEMENT

The role-play exercise has been part of an educational event hosted by the department for the past two years, Police Chief Tom Lewis told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

“Obviously in this circumstance, something went terribly wrong,” Lewis said.

Punta Gorda police have released few details about what led to Knowlton being shot by a live round, and Lewis declined to answer questions at the news conference.

He acknowledged reports that Coel, a K-9 police officer, had been accused of allowing his police dog to attack a man while on patrol in October last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This officer was involved in a K-9 apprehension incident,” Lewis said. “Currently that incident is in civil litigation.”

Lawyer Scott Weinberg said Coel intended to cite his client, Richard Shumacher, for riding a bike at night without a headlight or taillight when the attack occurred.

Weinberg, who has filed a notice of intent to sue the city and the police department, released a police dash-cam video of the incident earlier this year. In it, Coel can be seen holding Shumacher down while the dog mauled him.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The bottom line is that when I released this video two months ago, I had warned everybody that this man was going to kill somebody,” Weinberg said in a phone interview. “I told the chief to his face that this man was dangerous.”

Coel also was accused of excessive force in April 2013 while working as a police officer for Miramar, Florida police, court records show.

That incident and another case led investigators to determined Coel had violated department policies, and he was forced to resign, the Miami Herald reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

It was not clear if Coel has been disciplined for violating rules in the incident involving his police dog in Punta Gorda, where he was hired for the city’s force in March 2014.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and James Dalgleish)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

‘When will someone go to jail?’: New report shows Google secretly storing health data of millions of Americans

Published

on

According to The Wall Street Journal, neither patients nor doctors have been notified of the data collection and storage.

A "bombshell" new report from The Wall Street Journal describes a secret project from Google and healthcare giant Ascension to store data on millions of Americans, a move that critics of the tech conglomerate decried as another example of overreach.

"When will someone go to jail?" wondered mathematician and musician David C. Lowery. "That would stop this shit real fast."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

John Bolton lawyer tells judge his interests do not align with WH chief of staff Mick Mulvaney

Published

on

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton told a federal judge on Monday that his interests do not align with those of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

"A long-simmering feud within the White House broke into the open on Monday as a lawyer for John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, filed a motion trying to keep Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, from joining a lawsuit over impeachment testimony," New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker reported Monday.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Trump whines about protecting VA whistleblowers as he tarnishes Veteran’s Day with anti-impeachment rants

Published

on

This Monday on Veterans Day, the White House fired off a tweet praising President Trump for "looking out for veterans." Among the achievements listed in the tweet was Trump's signing of the 2017 whistleblower protection act -- a point that Trump bellowed at, considering that the current scandal enveloping the White House was kicked off by a whistleblower.

"To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!" Tump tweeted while highlighting the White House's post.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image