History of investigations uncovered in file of suspended Audubon Park police officer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An Audubon Police officer is now under investigation after a woman claimed he attacked her on the highway.
That was only the beginning of this story.
An exclusive Troubleshooter report found a history of investigations on the same officer as he bounced from one department and then another.
While driving north on the Gene Snyder on December 21, 2021, Michelle Kuiper called 911 describing a vehicle she said was driving erratically.
“This guy has almost hit five or six people,” Kuiper told the dispatcher. “He’s going 100 miles an hour.”
Kuiper described part of his license plate and reported that after she flashed her light, the driver turned his attention to her.
“He opens his door and it almost hits the front of my car,” Kuiper told WAVE News. “And my lights are then on the opening of his car, and that’s when I saw the patch.”
While on the 911 call, Kuiper tells the dispatcher what happened next.
“He got out of his car and says he’s an officer,” she said. “He’s trying to get in my car.”
She tells the dispatcher the man smelled of alcohol.
Kuiper told WAVE News says the officer grabbed her wrist and bruised it. She described putting her feet under the pedals for leverage.
In the incident report, it states the man, identified as John William Schulte, tried to cuff her and pull her out of her car.
“He was pounding on my windows and yanking on my car doors,” Kuiper said.
The report said Schulte threatened to write a warrant for her arrest before taking off.
At one point Kuiper questioned if he was an actual cop.
“I said, maybe he’s not?”
Schulte is in fact a current officer at Audubon Park Police.
But, that wasn’t all that came up in a two minute Google search. WAVE News Troubleshooters began submitting a list of open records requests.
“When it happened, I said he’s done this before. I said it to everybody,” Kuiper said.
Schulte’s record goes back to December 1993 on Eastern Parkway.
In a complaint taken by the Louisville Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit, a woman reported seeing a man assaulting another woman inside a car.
When she honked and flashed her lights, the report states, the man slammed his brakes and came at her. He reached inside her car, the report said, and hit her in the face several times with his fist. The documents said he damaged her window and door which he kicked too.
The similarities angered Kuiper’s attorney, Sara Collins, who work at Sam Aguiar’s law firm.
“I was very disturbed that he was able to be a law enforcement officer after that incident,” Collins said.
But, that’s exactly what happened.
Records show the Louisville Police Department suspended Schulte, but kept him employed, despite the acting chief writing a letter contained in Schulte’s file stating there was enough evidence to sustain her allegations.
They also didn’t fire Schulte’s lieutenant, who an incident report said tried to keep her quiet by telling her the courts would simply see her as a “nosy bystander.”
The documents also state that same lieutenant gave her a check for the damages to her car, but the money was only half of the estimated amount.
Schulte’s disciplinary record continued through the years, from problems with alcohol, to missing court dates and getting into crashes.
WAVE News Troubleshooters also obtained a document from his personnel file listing a complaint for alleged “brutality” from 1990. Those findings were unfounded, it stated, with an added notation that the file went missing.
Schulte was never disciplined in connection to that allegation.
WAVE News has asked for a new search for documents related to that Professional Standards Unit case.
“It baffles me,” Collins said.
In 2012, records show Schulte worked as an Oldham County Sheriff’s Deputy.
According to an incident report, on November 4, an adult dancer and masseuse was called by Schulte to home.
The woman claimed he started getting handsy and asking her for sex. When she tried to leave, the report said he grabbed her phone.
When her male driver came to Schulte’s door, he told police Schulte pointed a gun at him.
In a prosecutor’s letter obtained through an open records request, the prosecutor wrote that Schulte could face criminal charges related to the incident, but that the alleged victims declined to press them.
Schulte was fired after that incident for breaking a long list of department rules, the termination letter states.
But, once again, Schulte held on to his badge and was hired by Audubon Park Police.
“I am disappointed in the system that’s supposed to keep us safe,” Kuiper said. “I am just as upset about that as I am this officer.”
Kuiper’s brother is in the FBI and she works for Kentucky State Police, she explained. To her, Schulte’s behavior is an insult to a profession she respects and a black eye to all the noble officers like those who came to her rescue that day.
The damage done, she said, is not just to the victims, but to the trust between community and police.
“It is disgusting to me because that could kill someone like my brother or officers I see,” Kuiper said. “They don’t want someone like this in their unit.”
LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit now has the case for possible criminal charges related to Kuiper’s allegations.
Schulte’s Major and acting chief at Audubon Park, Teddy Laun, suspended him without pay until that investigation wraps up.
She added that a previous administration hired him.
Kuiper has hope this time he won’t get a pass, and that if other people have been affected, that they come forward.
“My thing from the very beginning is I hope he is never in uniform to harm another person,” she said. “Ever.”
The administration that hired Schulte at Oldham County is also no longer in charge.
Schulte did return our request for comment and to get his side of the story. But he said he could not speak about the allegations because of the pending investigation.
Laun provided the following comment.
“William John Schulte was hired with the Audubon Park Police Department under a previous administration on 10/07/2016. This matter is under investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department Public Integrity Unit and Officer Schulte is currently on suspension. While we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, we do believe in holding our officers accountable for their actions. That is the only way to uphold the public trust and maintain the integrity of the department. Once the investigation is complete, the Audubon Park Police Department will take the appropriate actions as determined by the investigation.”
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