LMPD Officer Tyler Gelnett

LMPD Officer Tyler Gelnett (Source: Louisville Metro Police Department)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville Metro Police officer has been 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.

Officer Tyler Gelnett has been put on administrative reassignment while police investigate the two misdemeanor charges, according to a news release from LMPD on Friday.

Gelnett, who has been with the department since 2018, was not arrested and instead issued a criminal summons to appear in court. He will be arraigned on Nov. 20 on charges of trafficking in marijuana and official misconduct.

Attorney Steve Schroering, who represents Gelnett, said the officer will plead not guilty. He declined to talk further about the case.

The charges stem from allegations that, between December and April, Gelnett "seized marijuana from individuals in the community" and gave some of the drugs to a woman he was in a relationship with, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said an audit showed discrepancies between the amount of marijuana seized by Gelnett and how much was turned in to the property room. And Gelnett, according to the criminal complaint, admitting giving the unnamed woman some of the marijuana and turned over to investigators drug paraphernalia he had given her.

In addition, police claim Gelnett’s actions were confirmed by video evidence, electronic surveillance and witness testimony.

In a lawsuit filed in January, Gelnett was accused of groping a woman during a traffic stop in 2019. 

Kali Coates was with her boyfriend and family members when she was pulled over on Jan. 5, 2019, after turning onto 28th Street from Virginia Avenue.

After Gelnett ordered her out of her vehicle, he "inappropriately" placed his hands in her "crotch area" and then into her underwear, according to the suit, which is pending.

Then, after the officer moved Coates to the rear of the car, he began a second search. At that point, she accuses Gelnett of "groping her buttocks and her vagina to the point that another officer intervened and admonished him," the suit claims.

Police 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."

Shaun A. Wimberly, Sr., who's representing Coates in the lawsuit now being considered in federal court, was careful in his response to the drug trafficking case announced against Gelnett on Friday.

"These are allegations on the officer, so I'm not going to get ahead of that," he said.

However, he said he's disturbed that Gelnett is still employed by LMPD. Coates, he said, had the same response.

"A moment of silence and then she stepped back and said, 'These types of officers should not be on the street, Shaun,'" he said.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.