Florida officer charged in shooting death of MN native during citizen police academy

Mary Knowlton was killed during a "shoot/don't shoot" scenario.
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Charges have been filed against two Florida police officers in the death of a Minnesota native who was fatally shot during a citizen police academy demonstration last August.

Mary Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired librarian originally from Austin, Minnesota, attended the demonstration hosted by the Punta Gorda Police Department. She was playing the victim in a "shoot/don't shoot" scenario when officer Lee Coel, who was playing a "bad guy," mistakenly shot her with an actual bullet, killing her.

In the days following Knowlton's death, Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said he was "100 percent accountable" for what happened. And on Wednesday, the State's Attorney's Office in Florida announced charges against Lewis and Coel.

LIVE: State Attorney's Office announces decision on Punta Gorda Citizens Academy shooting death.

Posted by Adam Wright WINK News on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Coel was charged with felony manslaughter and was arrested, while Lewis was charged with culpable negligence, a misdemeanor, and was given a summons to appear in court, according to USA Today.

WINK News says Coel has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, and notes he has a history of complacency, insubordination and questionable decisions. If he's convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, USA Today says.

Lewis could spend up to 60 days in jail if he's found guilty, the paper adds.

The City of Punta Gorda approved more than $2 million in a settlement with the Knowlton family back in November, reports note.

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