Florida Cop who Shot Woman during Training Exercise will Serve no Jail Time

Former Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel accepted a plea deal where he will serve 10 years probation.

The Florida cop who shot and killed a woman during a citizen police academy "shoot/don't shoot scenario" training exercise will serve no jail time.

Lee Coel was a Punta Gorda police officer when he shot and killed Mary Knowlton in 2016. Knowlton was a 73-year-old retired librarian who enrolled in the citizen police academy to show her support for police. She was killed in front of 35 other people, including her husband.

Coel, who had a history of abusing citizens, said he believed the gun he was using contained blanks. Instead, it contained real bullets.

He was charged with felony manslaughter with a firearm and was fired from his job shortly after. He was facing up to 30 years in jail as well as a $10,000 fine, according to NBC News.

Last week, he agreed to a plea deal that will have him serve ten years of probation with no jail time.

So just how did Coel confuse live ammo for blanks?

According to Fox News:

Coel used a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver during the demonstration. Coel reportedly loaded it with bullets given to him by another officer. That officer told investigators they were moving and "had some old ammunition they wanted to get rid of." The officer believed the two boxes of ammunition given to Coel were filled with blank rounds.

Coel reportedly tested the .38 revolver with the ammunition he was given during a demonstration at the CCSO shooting range sometime in July 2016, weeks before Knowlton's death.

Investigators determined Coel did not realize he was shooting live rounds at the range.

Coel reportedly used the same ammunition on August 9th when Knowlton was shot. Investigators say he stored the ammunition in the back of his K-9 squad car; in a separate place from the ammunition for his duty weapon.

Tom Lewis, who was Punta Gorda police chief at the time, was charged with culpable negligence and found not guilty in 2017.

The Knowlton family received a $2 million settlement.

Comments (7)
No. 1-7
outofcontrol
outofcontrol

The last cop I saw using a revolver was Barney Fife, Okay, I get it now.

Minehunter
Minehunter

If the IQ is over 105 they aren't wanted. At 106 and above they may be able understand the laws and show compassion of the law. We can't have that, can we? (sarc)

Turkrama
Turkrama

Another killer cop made

Lawyer
Lawyer

$2 million for the taking of an innocent life, mother, wife, etc. Why was he charged with just manslaughter? He should have been charged with second degree murder, which applies even when the shooter didn’t intentionally mean to kill someone but acted recklessly. The PO here shot a gun at a woman without verifying that he was using non-lethal force? Despicable.

Wymore
Wymore

I feel like the cop lovers who attended that training ended up receiving a far more valuable education than they bargained for. They now know how dangerous cops are and how unaccountable the government holds itself, two things they obviously didn't know prior to attending this stupid class.

Tatoo49
Tatoo49

America's newest pastime. 'How many people can you kill without being indicted'? May as well be a game show as the way justice in America is run is a joke. Cops truly get away with murder. Usually, not a brain in the bunch. Any idiot (maybe not Trump) can see the major difference between blank bullets and real bullets. As expected, not a stitch of gun safety taught or practiced by dumb cops. MORE GUNS, PLEASE.

supervisionrequired
supervisionrequired

looks like we need to raise the IQ requirement for these dumb pigs!