Franklin police officer arrested on domestic battery charge

Report: Woman calls police after husband hit her in front of 3-year-old son

A Franklin police officer has been arrested on a charge of domestic battery.

Schyuler Brown, 29, who has been an officer for two years, was arrested Monday afternoon on the felony charge. He has been suspended from the police department pending an internal investigation and a review of the matter for a criminal charge.

A dispatch report said that a woman called police about 12:45 p.m. Monday when her husband hit her during an argument in front of their 3-year-old son. The incident happened at their Franklin home.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office was called to investigate the battery to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest or impropriety, Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan said.

The details of what happened and what the sheriff’s office has learned in its investigation were not available Monday evening.

Brown has been an outstanding Franklin police officer since he was hired in May 2015, O’Sullivan said. He has been disciplined once, by temporarily losing his take-home car privileges, after he was involved in a crash that was deemed preventable, O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan had not yet learned the details of the allegation against Brown. The police department has taken Brown’s weapon, police car and any other police department property, O’Sullivan said.

Brown has been suspended for five days without pay, which is the maximum discipline that the police chief can give. After the unpaid suspension, he will be suspended with pay until the internal investigation is complete and the Franklin Police Merit Board determines what, if any, additional punishment Brown should face.

O’Sullivan will conduct his own investigation or gather the police department’s internal review board, he said. O’Sullivan had not determined what, if any, additional discipline he would recommend to the merit board.

Any internal disciplinary charges are separate from any criminal charge that Brown may face.

The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office will decide what, if any, charges to file. In some cases involving criminal charges against a local police officer, a special prosecutor is needed. Prosecutor Brad Cooper said he knows of no reason at this point to seek a special prosecutor.

This is the second Franklin police officer to be arrested on a charge of domestic battery in the last eight months.

Bryan K. Burton, a 15-year veteran of the department, was fired this spring by the merit board after it found him guilty of two internal disciplinary charges: conduct unbecoming an officer and conduct injurious to the public peace and welfare. He had been arrested in October on a felony domestic battery charge.

A special prosecutor decided Burton and his wife should not face criminal charges from the incident, but O’Sullivan sought Burton’s termination based, in part, on his disciplinary history.

O’Sullivan said the city was disappointed to learn of Brown’s arrest, and that even police officers are susceptible to these situations, but the city offers employee assistance programs and can help employees if they are made aware of a situation.

He did not know if the incident happened in the heat of the moment, or if the family had been having ongoing issues.

“If someone reported having problems, we would try to work with them to get them some help,” O’Sullivan said.

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Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mholtkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2774.