Officer Lee Coel killed a 73 year old woman at a PR event staged by the Punta Gorda Florida Police Department last week. Coel shot the woman in front of 35 people at an event that was supposed to show citizens how little time police have to make judgment calls. Only a year earlier Coel was asked to resign from the Miramar P.D. after 14 months and allegedly for failing to pass a field training program. However Coel admitted on his application for the Punta Gorda department that there were two excessive force complaints filed against him as a result.
An area lawyer said Coel ought not to have been a cop at all and he had been asking for Coel to be fired months ago before he killed someone. The lawyer,, Weinberg represented a 25 year old man that was mauled during a 2015 arrest for riding a bike without a headlight or taillight. The video showed a non violent but uncooperative suspect, probably because he was drunk at the time of the arrest.
Coel triggered the remote control that let his K-9 dog out of the car after the suspect pulled his arm away from the officer. The video shows the dog grabbing the suspect by the arm pit and mauling him for about two minutes while the officer had the man pinned on his back using his knee. During the mauling you can hear the officer ordering the man to roll over and drop his arms, an impossibility as the man had a 200# cop kneeling on his chest and a 75 pound dog chewing on his armpit.
The suspect spent 11 days in the hospital repairing the torn apart muscles under his arm. For riding a bicylce at night without lights....
Coel was not initially disciplined for the mauling but had a reputation of excessive force and refusing to follow procedures that resulted in a lot of cases being dismissed. However, once the dash cam video was obtained by the lawyer and went viral online in June of 2016 the police department decided that the Coel needed retrained and they took the dog out of service during the investigation. Coel sunk himself by filing a false police report stating that the suspect walked toward him in an aggressive manner and refused to "go to the ground". The video shows that the suspect had his hands up and was kneeling when the dog was released upon him.
What was really strange about the situation was that the 73 year old woman was role playing the part of the arresting officer and it appears that Coel was playing the part of an armed suspect but had a real gun loaded with real ammunition instead of the training guns with blanks.
All of this makes me wonder if Oklahoma's own CLEET organization, responsible for training and keeping records on law enforcement officers (LEO) tracks these officers and any disciplinary actions that force them from a department. Doing so would prevent a bad apple from moving from one city to another and spreading destruction and ruined lives as officer Coel did.