The Punta Gorda police officer who shot and killed a 73-year-old woman during a citizen academy role playing session Tuesday has been identified as Lee Coel – the same cop who allowed his police dog to maul a man for riding his bicycle at night without lights in a video that went viral two months ago.
A cop that should have been fired long ago, according to a Florida attorney who is suing the Punta Gorda Police Department over the dog mauling incident.
“I’ve been saying for months that this guy was going to kill somebody and now he has killed somebody,” attorney Scott Weinberg said during a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Wednesday.
“Everybody had been put on notice that he was a loose cannon, that he should not have had a badge and a gun. The city, the state attorney and the police department knew he was not mentally fit to serve the public.”
But as police departments across the United States are known to do, the Punta Gorda Police Department defended Lee Coel, saying he was a good officer, an award-winning officer even.
“We are extremely proud of Lee and Spirit,” Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said on Facebook last year in regards to Coel winning an award at a police dog tournament.
“Their dedication to our Department has been an asset to our City, and we are excited to cheer them on through all of their future success.”