2 force complaints for academy shooting officer

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) – Records show a police officer who fatally shot a woman during a citizens academy class was twice accused of excessive use of force at a previous department where he worked.

The Miramar Police Department records released Thursday show that Officer Lee Coel was accused in April 2013 of pulling a suspect from the back of a police cruiser by his ankles, causing the man to land forcefully on the pavement. Investigators agreed it was too much force.

A second allegation in March 2013 involving rough handling of another suspect was ruled unfounded, although investigators said he drove the man over 100 mph in his cruiser in violation of policy.

Coel resigned from the Miramar department in April 2013 after about 14 months. He was hired by the Punta Gorda Police Department in March 2014.

On Tuesday, Coel mistakenly shot 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a “shoot/don’t shoot” exercise at the Punta Gorda department. The shooting is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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