A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy is under internal investigation after he was found in the company of more than a dozen “young adults” who’d gathered to drink and listen to music Friday night in a clearing in a wooded area of Palm Coast’s W-Section.
The deputy under investigation, Jonathan Kuleski, 22, was previously an officer with the Bunnell Police Department, where he’d been sworn in in October 2013. He was sworn in at the Sheriff’s Office last August.
According to a heavily redacted sheriff’s incident report, 911 had received a noise complaint just after 11:30 p.m. Friday in the area of Wood Aspen Drive and Wood Acre Lane. The caller told the dispatcher that there were several vehicles in the area, and that music could be heard, coming from the wooded area behind the houses.
Walking a quarter mile into the woods, deputies found about “15 young adults listening to music and drinking alcoholic beverages,” according to the report. The deputy writing the report goes on: “Upon making contact with the subjects, I noticed that one of the subjects was a member of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Jonathan Kuleski. I asked Jonathan if everyone on scene was of legal age to drink and he advised [redacted.]”
A sheriff’s sergeant was dispatched to the scene. Kuleski described the incident to the sergeant, but his entire conversation, summarized in the incident report, is redacted.
“In speaking with several other subjects on scene, they confirmed Jonathan’s story and advised that everyone at the gathering brought alcohol and that no one particular person supplied the alcoholic beverages,” the report states. Dalton Edwards, a 19-year-old resident of Bunnell who was at the scene, told police “he was the person that arranged the gathering and that Jonathan was not involved in the planning of it.”
Deputies at the scene located a pair of brass knuckles on the tire of one of the vehicles. Brass knuckles are considered a weapon, and like firearms, may not be carried without a permit. “Initially,” the report states, “no one would claim to be the owner of the brass knuckles. Then several different people [said] that the brass knuckles belonged to them. It was believed that the brass knuckles belonged to one of the subjects on scene, but due to several people claiming to own the item, they were simply seized and will be submitted into evidence for destruction.” (The brass knuckles bear the letters “L-O-V-E” on the knuckle part.
“All of the subjects at the gathering were advised to clean up the area and leave, at which time they complied,” the report concludes. “When the subjects left, units on scene made sure that no one leaving the gathering in a vehicle was driving under the influence. All subjects involved departed without incident.”
Kuleski had briefly caught the Bunnell City Commission’s attention in early 2014 when he’d drawn a resident’s praise for his response to a crash. The resident and his child had been involved in the crash. The resident was extremely upset. When his shift ended, Kuleski went to the resident’s home to check up on him. A few days later, the resident stopped by the police department to commend the officer. Sid Nowell, who was the Bunnell City Commission’s attorney at the time—he no longer is, but is the sheriff’s office’s attorney—had summarized the matter to commissioners in a memo.