punta gorda police

Michael Hirsh

Testimony resumes Tuesday morning in the trial of suspended Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis. He’s charged with culpable negligence in the shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a shoot/don’t shoot scenario last August at Punta Gorda police headquarters.

Michael Hirsh

Jury selection in the trial of suspended Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis began this morning. Lewis is charged with culpable negligence in the death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton, who was shot and killed by a Punta Gorda police officer during a shoot/don’t shoot demonstration last August. Just what is “culpable negligence?”

Apparent negligence by the Punta Gorda Police Department resulted in the shooting death of a senior citizen last August as she volunteered in a shoot/don’t shoot scenario at police headquarters. The officer who fired the shot has been charged with felony manslaughter. He was fired and is appealing his termination this week. The city’s police chief, Tom Lewis, is charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence. He is on paid administrative leave.

Punta Gorda’s Human Resources Manager has fired Police Officer Lee Coel effective today.

The notice of termination comes just a week after Coel and his attorney met with city officials. He now has ten days to appeal the firing to the city manager. Coel was suspended last August when he shot and killed 73 year old Mary Knowlton during a shoot/don’t shoot demonstration at police headquarters.

Michael Hirsh

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis is on administrative leave with pay today after being charged with culpable negligence in the death of a woman participating in a citizen’s academy last August.

Officer Lee Coel will have a disciplinary hearing with the city’s human resources manager and labor attorney to determine his future employment status with the Punta Gorda police department. Coel has the right to appeal the outcome to the city manager. He was charged with manslaughter yesterday in the death of Mary Knowlton during the shoot/don’t shoot demonstration last August.

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