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.
Let the boy go. Don’t turn him into a little Nazi !!!!
Does Flagler county have anything else better to do with their time then investigate their own employees who are old enough to have a beer
Bad choice for fun of this young deputy, when should be setting the good examples.
Maybe he was.
Too young….very irresponsible on his part, only one way to fix this.
I agree. As he is obviously the only officer on any force who can actually sit in the woods with a bunch of young kids drinking beer and be somewhat accepted by them, there is but one thing that we need to do. Promote him to the head of the Juvenile Crime Department.
C’mon, you self-righteous bastards. Who among us has never gathered around a campfire drinking beer when we were underaged? And somehow we all lived to bitch about our descendants doing the same damn thing.
But as far as I can recall, of the hundreds of times I remember, I can’t recall ever having any Cop who was cool enough to sit and drink and talk with me and all my friends. And in 21st Century Americas Police State, this poor young officer is going to be crucified for it by the self-righteous Church Lady Brigade. And we wonder why our kids and country are so screwed up.
this as all police dept this will be trashed and the office give a raise ,when he was on property taking part in a booze party and music that was reported by public ,he should be dismissed ,how can the public trust the police when they brake the law,but with this police force your better off to trust the guy in jail for you know why their in jail
The kids walked a quarter mile into the woods so they could drink a beer or two and not bother anybody and still got harassed. That’s just wrong. And I’ll bet any one of them can spell better than you. While braking the law.
Redacted, my ass. Cover up would be a better description. Interesting how the Silent Blue Line really covers for their own, where are the Body Cameras? Flagler County is beginning to look more like Ferguson everyday.
Ray Thorne says
Admissions and juvenile info is always redacted. It doesn’t matter who you are..its the law.
Diana L says
I think it might be best for them to do an investigation before the social media jury convicts him. Before we convict him or anyone else, let’s get some facts.
His statements are redacted because he is under investigation right now. I am a retired U.S Marine and I will say this, this young officer has chosen a certain career path which now requires him to walk a straight line. He must be the embodiment of good character and integrity. But again he is young and he made a very immature decision and now he is facing the consequences. I don’t normally comment on such matters but after reading some of these comments I felt the need to. It doesn’t matter what I think as far as what his punishment must be but I think it’s fair to say that some of the comments left on this page are ignorant and clearly made by people with no decency. Read a book, educate yourself, and stop making unbelievably ignorant comments.
“Flagler County is beginning to look more like Ferguson everyday.”
thank you so much, i read that comment and was the what the *&^#
The Geode says
I wouldn’t quite compare Flagler County to Ferguson, but if THIS is what qualifies as a “trained officer” – it will be soon…
My educated assumption on the information being redacted is due to the fact that it is still an open investigation. Therefore the young man’s statement can not be released yet.
Hes 22, leave him be. Everyone messes up
He’s young, he made a mistake. Slap him on the wrist, sit him at a desk for a while, then put him back to work. Firing him is overkill.
As someone who is supposed to be a model citizen to their own community it is disappointing. Every human makes mistakes. Not all of us get caught. Unfortunately he did. Hopefully he is judged appropriately as any other citizen would be and not judged upon his badge. I also first hand know and have been witness to another deputy who was doing the same thing. And my husband and I was leaving the same get together as that deputy when his own Sergeant pulled him for eratic driving and excessive speed, and was beyond to intoxicated to drive, but refused to let anyone else drive him so as friends we at least followed him to make sure him and his girlfriend at the time got home safely. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that he got let go because they were friends. Then to top it off bragged that that is their ” Brotherhood”. And that officer has a brother that is also a Deputy Sheriff here. Laws should apply to all not all except those bearing a badge.
Just another one of Manfre’s outstanding deputies. The ones fired for unjust reasons have more common sense. Keep on hiring substandard personnel. It makes you look like you don’t know what your doing. Oh, wait a minute, you don’t know what you’re doing. We need a new Sheriff and deputies. Please vote this clown out!
it seems to me, that he would still be on probation with the Sheriff’s Office. Drinking with minors, to me should be terms for dismissal..
Moe Syzlak says
I hope they hold him responsible for his actions and let him go. He’s still on probation so this should this should be a no brainer. I bet his father is disgusted with his immature sons behavior
Ethics left this agency says
The deputy was hired and trained by Manfre and Staly who promised that when they took over there would be no more bad apples added to the agency. I’m pretty sure that if you examine how many officers have been in trouble since they became sheriff you would be shocked.
a tiny manatee says
I’m sure the apologists will chime in with “he’s a good officer and deserves a second chance” and will completely ignore the fact that he’s a person in a position of authority that’s sworn to uphold the laws he’s decided to break. My prediction: whereas a normal person would go to jail for this, nothing will happen.
Florida really needs an effective independent LEO investigative department and prosecutors that aren’t scared of doing their jobs with respect to law enforcement officers. Just look at how long waldo operated and the current chaos in miami gardens.
No, we should put officers in jail for shooting and killing citizens when they don’t need to. But not for being interactive with young people who are doing what young people do.
a tiny manatee says
I agree with the intent of what you’re saying. Yes on more positive, normal, human interaction but no on “hey guys I’m 22 here’s a beer I’m going to go talk up this hot 16 year old.” The positive interaction here was that the kids got off without getting in trouble, the negative one is that someone in a position of authority was engaged in criminal behavior and is probably going to get a free ride because he has a badge. The law needs to be applied equally and fairly, and when police are on the receiving end of it that pretty much never happens.
Ram Bow says
Someone talk some sense into this kid….GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN !!!!
Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun
Ashley Stover says
I don’t see the problem?? He wasn’t on duty, he didn’t provide the alcohol or probably even know everyone there. He wasn’t overly intoxicated and nobody was drinkin and driving. Was the young man supposed to go around IDing everybody at a party he attended because he is a cop for a living? Come on people give it a rest.
Who has not done this at that age? People, get a life!
I don’t think the police office should be punished I personally know the kids he was hanging out with and I know they were doing nothing but hanging out by a fire listening to music and drinking a couple beers, and I’m not a fan of FCSO I’m somebody that has been abused by this corrupt system of ours and have been treated like a criminal the last few months for defending my life and property
If a teacher did that, they would be fired, loose their certificate and be brought up on charges. Public officials are held to a higher standard. This was covered in an ethics class in LEO school.
I get the distinct impression that this 22 year old cop was aiding and abetting and joining MINORS drinking alcohol????????? Also he did not confiscate the brass knuckles???? Hmmmm makes one wonder.
ted bundy says
terminate him now, before his judgement costs the county millions!!!!
Pending an investigation of course?
Some of these comments like Ashley S., PCer… Really make you understand the definition of ignorant. He is a public servant, and he is held to a higher standard, just like a teacher. Very poor decision making skills..
This cop is aiding and abetting minors to break the law. He may be young but he is a sworn deputy and he knows the law. Even off duty he is still responsible to uphold the law and PROTECT minor children not help them break the law. He is showing blatant disrespect for the law which he has sworn to uphold. He needs to find a job outside of law enforcement and maybe make friends his own age. If he caught you breaking the law I have no doubt he would give you a ticket so how can he feel he is above the law himself?
This Deputy pulled me over a few months ago. He was very courteous and professional. I remember thinking how young he was. I don’t understand why there are people who would want him terminated immediately….If he made a mistake, he will pay for it, I can guarantee you that. He’s young, just barely old enough to drink, he’s human, and entitled to make mistakes. All of us have. The folks here who want him crucified represent those in our community with a vile hatred for law enforcement in general. Show me a young person who has not screwed up in some way. You can’t, they don’t exist.
Very well said….
Lately I have noticed many young cops out on our roads…..I have caught them …. NOT stopped at stop signs, tail gating cars, speeding down roads, speeding IN SCHOOL zones and using their computers while driving…. If I was to do this I would most likely get caught and get a ticket. That’s not exactly kosher IMO.
Immediate termination is the only option, as he cannot be trusted again by the public, at the very least, me, and seeing as I’m a part of the public, my statement stands true. He’ll be able to find a job at another department easily, so chill out cop apologists.
Charlie D says
Public officials are held to a higher standard. Since when, Obama, holder, ried, Pelosi, Manfred just to name a few.
Diana L says
Oh, I get it, it’s Obama’s fault. OMG.
This was not an unusual situation for the deputies. They regularly break up house parties. If you are under 18 your parents get called to come & get you. If you are 18 or over you are free to go unless you are doing something wrong. They don’t go around arresting everybody just because they are there. Were they going to pull fingerprints from beer cans to see who was underage & dropped their can?
The whole idea that there was a “cop” at this get together suggests to me that the whole group are probably good kids, just wanting a place to get together & socialize. For anyone to think this person needs to be fired & his career ruined because he was hanging out with his peers, not allowed to socialize, I hope you never make a mistake.
I can’t stand most cops personally but this guy is old enough to drink and was off duty so why the big hooplah?
I understand that underage drinking has increasingly becoming the norm. What I don’t understand is how people who have authority and have chosen to serve and protect our community are not held to a higher standard or even a median standard. The options for role models in society have been lowered to reality sex tape vixens, steroid using athletes, and charismatic yet dirty politicians. Law enforcement has recently been shown in less than a favorable light in the media. I will be honest I don’t need the person who is responsible to serve and protect me to be my drinking bud. I prefer they protect me from being robbed, shot, or even killed by an underage drunk driver. I don’t mean to point out the obvious but if you want to be in law enforcement you need to have integrity beyond reproach and at 22 if you’re not ready to make that sacrifice be a security guard until you are.
To the reader who posted “Flagler County is beginning to look more like Ferguson everyday” if you just noticed this now you haven’t lived here long. Your vote is your voice; don’t let anyone else speak for you.
Sherry E says
How tragic that our country is so divided against itself that twice elected President Obama. . . and all Democrats are blamed for this . . . out of ignorance, fear, hate, etc. United we stand and divided we fall! Take a step out of our country. . . if you are secure enough to do that. . . and look back at the USA. Our country is being torn apart by the extreme zealots on the left and especially on the right. Other countries are stepping into the void, with glee, while we squabble amongst ourselves. We need to somehow find the path to becoming the great “UNITED States of America” again!
Regarding this young officer. . . he, even as an off duty officer, has willfully taken on a position that requires setting an example of obeying the law 24/7! He “represents” the laws of our land, 24/7. He was caught (this time) making a huge mistake. Which begs the question of how often these kinds of incidents happen where those involved are not caught. If he were “on duty” and called to the scene, he would have been legally required to deal with the underage drinkers, and brass knuckles, etc. The fact that any police officer gave the impression, that under age drinking is OK as long as you are “friends” of a police officer is certainly not the “good young boys” relationship that should be cultivated in our community.
Saying that, immediate dismissal may not be appropriate IF, in every other way, this officer has an exemplary performance record. Probation and re-training may serve to be a positive learning experience that could lead to the development of an excellent addition to our police force.
It would be interesting to read a follow up article on how this situation is resolved.
David B. says
A few beers, and a little party way back in the woods didn’t hurt anybody. But, shouldn’t the parents been notified and told to come to the scene to take Junior home ?
Doc Holliday says
I keep hearing it mentioned by commenters as “minors”, as far as i can tell from the article these are all adults between 19 and 22 years old. Young adults maybe, but adults nonetheless, and im guessing they are probably peers from when he went to HS. Leave the man alone, if he didnt supply it no crime has been committed.
He didn’t supply the alcohol but he watched under aged adults drinking. As a cop he should know that’s against the law. A cop is a cop regardless if they are on duty or not.
Would you please give us the statue that states the illegality of observing underage adults consuming beer will lead to a persons arrest? Is that this Sharia they keep screaming about?
He should know better! People are saying let him go and give him a pass. He should be fired for just being present, how can he effectively perform his duties after this. Hypothetical situation for the slap on the wrist people; what if one of the underage drinkers crashed and died or hit one of your family members? It’s called accountable.
Yeah! Let’s impose unrealistic expectations on everybody! Screw Everyone without a 100% moral track record! WOOO!
He’s a cop and sworn to uphold the law!!!!!!!!!!!!
They should all be charged and this clown should lose his job!!!!!!!!!!
So this is the new standard for the Law and Order Brigade screamers regrading how we should guide our police. Socialize with your underage wards having a beer, HANG HIM! Molest an underage ward, Well…