Cop Who Accidentally Killed Librarian, 73, Was Reportedly Forced to Resign From His Last Police Job
New details about the cop who accidentally killed a 73-year-old librarian during a police safety demonstration in Florida have emerged.
The police officer has been identified as Lee Coel. Three years ago, when he was a rookie with the Miramar Police Department, he was accused of using excessive force on two separate occasions and was put on administrative leave.
The department said he violated its policies and he resigned, the Miami Herald reported. He left the department after 14 months on the job.
Coel later joined the Punta Gorda Police Department.
Dash cam video from October 2015 shows him pulling over a cyclist for not having a light. During the routine pullover, Coel's police dog bit the cyclist, Richard Schumacher, when the officer claimed he didn't follow orders, including a failure to stop.
Schumacher pleaded guilty to resisting arrest without violence and driving under the influence while a third charge of fleeing and eluding was dismissed. An internal police investigation cleared Coel of wrongdoing in the incident.
Schumacher's lawyer Scott Weinberg told Inside Edition: "He is the type of officer who should not be on the police force. He acts like he is in a war zone all the time. For a minute and 47 seconds, that officer almost let that dog kill my client. This man is dangerous and he is going to kill somebody and unfortunately, he did."
But Schumacher plans to sue the police officer and the Punta Gorda Police Department.
Now, Coel has been placed on administrative leave following Tuesday’s accidental shooting of beloved librarian Mary Knowlton.
Steve Knowlton, the victim's heartbroken son, is now trying to come to terms with his loss.
"Obviously there is a difference between bullets and blanks, but why was there even a gun pointed at my mom?" he said.
Incredibly, he says he has forgiven the officer who shot his mom.
"If we are not willing to forgive, I guess we cannot expect to be forgiven," he said.