Family agrees to $2M payout for woman’s death during police demo

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

By Paul Walsh

Minneapolis Star Tribune

The family of an Austin native and onetime Twin Cities librarian has agreed to a settlement exceeding $2 million with the Florida city where she retired and was accidentally shot to death during a citizen police academy exercise in August.

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The deal awaits approval Wednesday by the City Council in Punta Gorda, where 73-year-old Mary Knowlton lived until she was shot to death in August in front of her husband of 55 years in a “shoot or don’t shoot” demonstration.

The exercise that led to the former Prior Lake resident’s death was designed to re-create a lethal force scenario involving police. The gun that was shot at Knowlton had been errantly loaded with live rounds.

As part of the proposed settlement that calls for the family to receive $2,060,234.23, the city “denies violating any laws or breaching of duties” in connection with Knowlton’s death, the agreement reads.

The deal, which also frees the municipality and its staff from any future claims made by the family, further notes that “the city and its officers maintain that they did not violate anyone’s civil rights nor act wrongfully or negligently during the incident.”