Louisville, KY — The taxpayers of Louisville, Kentucky were put on notice this week that they will be shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the disgusting actions of one of Louisville’s finest. The money is part of a settlement for a lawsuit filed against the city after a woman was groped by officer Tyler Gelnett.
Had another officer not been on the scene, the groping claim may have never been substantiated. Luckily, however, that officer was wearing a body camera and had the courage to tell Gelnett to stop his sexual assault.
According to the lawsuit, Kali Coates was with her boyfriend and family when she was pulled over by police on Jan. 5, 2019 for a routine traffic violation. During the stop, Gelnett claimed to “smell marijuana,” and ordered Coates out of the vehicle before “inappropriately” placing his hands in her “crotch area” and then into her underwear, according to the lawsuit.
After sexually assaulting Coates in front of her vehicle, Gelnett then moved her to the back of the vehicle where a second assault took place — this time, in the full view of another officer on the scene.
According to the lawsuit, Coates accuses Gelnett of “groping her buttocks and her vagina to the point that another officer intervened and admonished him.” The body camera footage backs up this claim.
“Jesus!” Coates exclaims as Gelnett uses the front of his palm — against policy — to grope her private areas. “So rude!”
The officer on the scene then steps in and tells Gelnett to walk away and scolds him before trying to explain to Coates and her boyfriend that he is in training.
“Hey, hey, stop, time,” the unnamed officer told Gelnett. “Time out. Time out. Go back there.”
As WDRB reports, body camera video obtained by WDRB News shows another officer, a man, telling a visibly upset Coates that Gelnett was in training and apologized for the way she was searched, saying the officer would be punished.
“We apologize to you,” the unnamed officer told Coates after the traffic stop, according to the video. “I want to personally apologize.”
“He’s a new officer; I’m training him,” the officer said.
Coates told police Gelnett had “used his fingers” while searching her.
“I’ve never had nobody … it was awkward,” she said to the other officer.
“As soon as I saw him, I stopped him,” the officer told the couple. “It’s all being recorded. I want to reassure you of that.”
The officer then told the couple that Gelnett would be held accountable for his actions. It is unclear what, if any, punishment Gelnett faced for groping Coates as the department refused to admit fault in the lawsuit — despite the officer admitting fault in the video below.
“He had no idea what he was doing, I’ll be honest with you,” the officer said.
But he may have known what he was doing. Given what unfolded a year later, Gelnett could have been looking for marijuana to give to his girlfriend.
As WDRB reports, in November 2020, Gelnett was charged with official misconduct and drug trafficking for allegedly seizing marijuana while handling cases but then giving it to a woman he was in a relationship with.
He resigned from the department and pleaded guilty to official misconduct in 2021.
As for Coates and her boyfriend, after she was sexually assaulted, they were let go without any citations or charges.