Taking an account: A career timeline for Franklin police officer Bryan K. Burton


Police report: Shonda Burton said in February that her husband Bryan Burton, whom she was divorcing, was not to be at her Edinburgh home and had pushed his way in when he dropped off the children.

Police report: Burton was at his children’s residence in his police vehicle in October to pick up them up, but their mother didn’t want the 3-year-old to go because Burton didn’t have a proper car seat, she told an officer who was called to the scene. Burton waved his arms and said he wanted his kids, and if he was wrong (about restraining the child), the police officer could just write him a ticket. Police asked them to reach an agreement, and the mother let the child go.


Promotion: The Franklin Police Department established a narcotics unit to target street-level dealers. Burton was one of the detectives.

Police report: Police are called to a fight at a Franklin bar late at night in October. Burton was off-duty but was involved in a fight with two men after they had attacked a bouncer, and the other men were arrested. Burton had been told by bar security to go back to his table, but he had gone outside instead. Burton used the vascular restraint, which is a type of chokehold, to get one of the men under control because he was outnumbered, and the man was unconscious for 20 to 30 seconds. An officer saw Burton handcuff the man he had used the restraint on, sit him up, then give him two blows to the back between his shoulder blades in an attempt to clear his airway and get the man to take a deep breath after being unconscious. Medics were called to check the man. Burton was found to have done nothing wrong.


Suspension, criminal investigation: Police Chief Stan Lynn placed Burton on paid administrative leave in January while an internal investigation was underway into allegations that Burton gave alcohol to people younger than 21, drank on the job and failed to report a traffic accident. In March, the Franklin Police Merit Board suspended Burton without pay for 45 days, reassigned him as a patrolman and made him undergo an alcohol evaluation program. Burton faced multiple disciplinary charges, including for conduct unbecoming an officer, misuse of resources and violation of professional code of conduct. Mayor Fred Paris told the police chief that he thought Burton should keep his job and get a second chance. The suspension agreement had been negotiated by the attorneys, Burton, Lynn and Paris, and the merit board approved it.

After the public raised concerns about the matter, Paris and Lynn decided to ask the Indiana State Police to conduct a criminal investigation into the allegations raised during the disciplinary matter. Burton returned from his suspension in May and was assigned to desk duty during the Indiana State Police investigation.

The completed state police investigation was turned over to Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper in September, and he turned the case over to a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor filed a felony criminal charge of official misconduct and a misdemeanor charge of battery against Burton after reviewing the investigation, which showed that a fellow Franklin detective told state police that he saw Burton touch an informant’s genital piercing in relation to the allegations from January.

The charges were later dismissed because the victim in the battery no longer wanted to participate in the case.

In 2011, new police Chief Tim O’Sullivan filed 16 internal disciplinary charges against Burton, but some of the charges had already been considered by the merit board, while other charges had not been initially considered. The merit board decided it could not reconsider the charges against Burton because all sides believed that the 45-day suspension resolved the case.

The merit board reinstated Burton to the position of patrolman and paid him $23,772 that he had not earned while on unpaid suspension due to the criminal charges that had been dropped.

Police report: Burton called Edinburgh police in July after not reaching an agreement on visitation with his ex-wife. Police told Burton it was a civil issue and they wouldn’t remove the children since they weren’t in danger. Burton told the officer that he has joint custody “and that he would get his children tonight and if we (police) couldn’t do it, he would take matters into his own hands and act as a police officer and get them.” The city took no action and records do not indicate the merit board was informed of the incident because a criminal review of other matters was already underway.


Police report: Burton and his children’s stepfather got into a dispute in March at the Edinburgh Park and Recreation Building. Police saw that Burton, who was holding his son, was very irate and yelling. Police saw Burton’s son being shaken in Burton’s arms due to his body movements, and Burton slammed his own arm into his vehicle while shouting. Burton had wanted to pick his children up a few hours earlier, but his ex-wife had said no. Witnesses had intervened so that the children in the park building did not witness the argument. Witnesses said Burton threatened the man by saying he would rather kill him than look at him again. Burton was not arrested. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal that he told the man that he promised to kill him if he hurt his children, because Burton was fearful for his children due to the man’s criminal record. The matter was reviewed by the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office, and no charges were filed. Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan spoke to Burton about the incident. The matter was not brought before the merit board for discipline.

Police report: A Greenwood resident calls police in March to report that children had drawn all over her sidewalk with chalk. She left a note asking them not to draw on her area of the sidewalk. The next day, she saw more chalk drawings on her sidewalk and said Burton called her derogatory names. She told him to get off her property. He told her that the sidewalk is public property. Police asked Burton to not have his children use her sidewalk. He agreed. The chief spoke to him about the incident in light of the ongoing criminal investigation. Burton denied calling her names in an interview with the Daily Journal.

Police report: A Greenwood man tells police in June that a female neighbor got into an argument with Burton over where he was walking behind the condos. The two were yelling at each other, getting the caller’s attention. He tried to resolve the problem, but Burton grabbed his arm and got in his face. He pushed Burton’s hands away and told him not to touch him again. The resident called police after the incident in case the problem came up again. Burton told police that he accidentally grabbed the man’s arm, and police told him to avoid neighborhood confrontations. He said he would. The police chief spoke to him about the incident in light of the ongoing criminal investigation. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal he could not de-escalate the situation due to other people involved.

Police report: Police are called to a family argument between Bryan and Jordan Burton at a Greenwood home in September. Bryan Burton was upset, and yelling with the windows open. No police assistance needed.


Discipline: In March, the merit board found Burton in violation of rules regarding use of the Indiana Data and Communications System, which is a computerized law enforcement/criminal justice communications and information storage and retrieval system. All officers underwent additional remedial training on how to use the system.

Burton files complaint: The merit board in April considers a complaint by Burton, who wanted to have O’Sullivan and Deputy Chief Chris Tennell removed from their administrative positions. The board informed Burton that they could only consider discipline against the chief in his job as a police officer, but not in his appointment by the mayor as chief. The board told Burton any complaint against would need to be investigated through the ranks of the police department. The board urged O’Sullivan to begin an internal investigation into Burton’s allegations. During a hearing, Burton alleged unfair and inconsistent discipline and offered an example of another officer under investigation being allowed to continue in his job with no change in duties.


Criminal investigation: State police are called to investigate a domestic incident at Burton’s Franklin home in March after Franklin police took the initial report which indicated that Burton did not want to give a child to his wife, Jordan Burton. The state police classified the incident as domestic violence, and the report said Bryan and Jordan Burton reported minor injuries. The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office did not file criminal charges, and no one was arrested. O’Sullivan did not ask the merit board to consider disciplining Burton because Burton was not arrested.

Police report: A man tried to file a Franklin police report in August regarding a civil matter against Burton, who was his former employer. Burton owns a construction company. The man had been told to file a small claims court action, and he did. Later that day, Burton called the man and told him he was annoying him. The man asked to be paid. Burton responded with an expletive and told him twice “not to step out of his door.” The man reported the comment about not stepping out of his door as a threat to police. In an interview with the Daily Journal, Burton denied speaking to the man. Records do not indicate that the merit board was informed of the reported threat.


Suspension: Burton was suspended for 15 days without pay in May for violating rules for care of equipment and the professional code of conduct. The charges centered on changes Burton made to his police department vehicle, without getting approval from the police department. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal that he did have permission.

Reprimand: Burton attends a police officer training session in June and asks the chief why Franklin is seeing an influx of black people, including thugs, out late at night. He is reprimanded and the merit board is informed. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal that he was informing the chief about a change in demographics of people who are roaming the streets during night shift, and disputes that he was reprimanded.

Corrective action: A member of the police merit board questions in June a statement Burton had made at his recent disciplinary hearing about how he doesn’t wear his seatbelt in his patrol car. Police department rules state that officers wear seatbelts in their cars. O’Sullivan and Tennell had met with Burton and told him he must wear his seatbelt.

Police report: Bryan Burton called dispatch and Jordan Burton called 911 in July due to an argument at their home. During the fight, she wanted to leave the home for the night and take their daughter, but Bryan Burton kept blocking her. He grabbed her on the arm, but she was not injured. Bryan Burton reported that she had slapped him. Jordan Burton said she didn’t want to put her daughter through the mood her husband was in. No one was arrested. Burton did not face discipline because the report could not be substantiated.

Honored: The merit board is informed in October of a letter of recognition the police department gave Burton for his help in delivering a child and attempting to revive the baby until medics arrived.


Privileges revoked: The police chief tells the merit board in January that he has suspended Burton’s take-home vehicle privileges for 21 days due to a car crash Burton was involved in while driving his patrol car. O’Sullivan could not provide details of what accident prompted the suspension, but said officer-involved crashes are investigated to determine if they were the fault of the officer, and if they were preventable. If accidents are the fault of the officer and preventable, he suspends take-home privileges. Burton said the accident happened at Westview Drive and U.S. 31. A sheriff’s office report of the accident lists the other driver at fault. An internal investigation determined the other driver was at fault, Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal.

Verbal reprimand: A woman with Burton’s homeowner’s association management company informs the police department in February that she had sent Burton a note about a problem with his Christmas lights. She said that Burton then called her on the phone, called her a name and mentioned his job as a police officer. Burton was questioned by the police department in the matter. O’Sullivan gave Burton a verbal reprimand, and the merit board was informed. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal that he couldn’t argue with the woman’s ignorance but he doesn’t recall mentioning his job as a police officer.

Verbal reprimand: Burton tells Lt. Kerry Atwood in April that he had been in an accident in his personal vehicle in February and that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles had suspended his license for failure to provide proof of insurance, and that this was the second time his driver’s license had been suspended. In an interview with the Daily Journal, Burton blamed his insurance agent and said he gave the BMV proof of insurance. Burton was given a verbal reprimand and the merit board was informed.

Honored: Burton administers Narcan (naloxone) and CPR to a man who was unresponsive and didn’t have a pulse in June. He is later awarded the police life saving medal before the merit board.

Internal investigation: The police department receives a written complaint in June from a local fast-food restaurant that Burton had honked his horn and yelled at the customer ahead of him while in the drive-thru line while he was in his patrol car. The department looked at the video of the incident, but did not have an audio recording, so no determination could be made about what had happened, and the complaint was deemed unfounded. The merit board was informed.

Police report: Officers are called in August to Burton’s home, where Jordan and Bryan Burton were in an argument in the yard. Burton said he and his wife had calmed down, but another family member had reignited the dispute about children discipline and treatment of an infant. The merit board is told that the officers determined the disturbance was verbal only and took no action.

Internal investigation: Burton is under internal investigation in September for a report of reckless driving and texting while driving after receiving a complaint from a member of the public, the merit board is told. The report was later deemed unfounded because Burton denied the report and it could not be proven.

Deceptive comments: O’Sullivan meets with Burton on Oct. 19 to discuss his conduct and various issues regarding his performance and action. Later, O’Sullivan would learn that statements Burton made or the way he represented matters were not truthful or were deceptive. Burton said in an interview with the Daily Journal that he was questioned about his personal life and marriage, and he had discussed those issues with his sergeant, not the chief.

Arrested: Franklin police are called to Burton’s Franklin home on Oct. 23. Jordan Burton reported that her husband had grabbed her by the arm and stopped her from leaving the home with their child. She told police an argument started when she tried to leave the home with their baby because she did not want another juvenile in the home watching the baby. Franklin police called the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate. Bryan Burton had grabbed her by the arm to keep her from leaving, and disconnected the battery from her vehicle. Both of them were arrested on a felony charge of domestic battery. Bryan Burton’s juvenile son told police Jordan Burton punched him in the head after the son took her car keys away from her and kept her from closing her car door. Jordan Burton had a red mark and scratches on her arm.

A special prosecutor reviewed the criminal allegations and decided that Bryan and Jordan Burton should not face a criminal charge from the October incident at their home.

Disciplinary charges: The chief filed two disciplinary charges on Oct. 26 against Burton for conduct unbecoming an officer and conduct injurious to the public peace or welfare. Burton was suspended without pay for five days, which is the maximum the chief can suspend him. Since then, Burton has been suspended with pay pending the resolution of the disciplinary charges.

The merit board is scheduled conduct a hearing beginning Wednesday to determine whether Burton is guilty of the internal charges and, if so, what discipline he should face. The chief has asked that he be fired.