Franklin officer suspended

Woman: Husband threw items at her during argument

An argument between a husband and wife escalated Monday to the point of the man, a Franklin police officer, throwing a paper plate and fork at his wife, the woman told the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman suffered a scratch below her eye, and the officer, Schyuler Z. Brown, 29, was arrested on a felony charge of domestic battery.

Brown did not return a phone call seeking his response to the allegation.

The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing this week the investigation by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, including meeting with Brown’s wife, Prosecutor Brad Cooper said. He will decide what, if any, criminal charge to file.

Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan is bringing an internal disciplinary charge of conduct unbecoming an officer against Brown to the Franklin Police Merit Board, due to the arrest, O’Sullivan said. He is not yet disclosing what, if any, sanctions he will ask the board to impose if Brown is found guilty of the disciplinary charge.

Brown has been suspended for five days without pay, which is the maximum discipline the chief can impose. Brown met with the chief on Tuesday, one day after his arrest, to be informed of the suspension and the process regarding the disciplinary charge.

O’Sullivan would not comment on any statements Brown made about the incident. After the suspension, the two-year Franklin Police Department veteran will be on paid administrative leave until the merit board considers the charge.

Brown’s wife called 911 at 12:43 p.m. Monday, police records show.

She told the sheriff’s deputy that she and Brown had been arguing recently about their relationship, and that on Monday afternoon, the argument escalated to the point that Brown threw a paper plate in anger, causing the injury, the sheriff’s office report said.

The deputy noted a 1.5-inch scratch with dried blood under her right eye, the report said. She did not seek medical attention, but said that she was in pain.

When the deputy asked how a paper plate would have caused the cut, she told him that it was possible that the fork cut her and that she thought her husband was throwing the plate and fork in the heat of the moment, and it hit her in the face, the report said. Their 3-year-old son was present during the incident, the report said.

Brown told police that the couple had gone to the store and began arguing, and they came home and their son was eating. Brown said that he was at the kitchen sink with a paper plate of leftover food and was facing away from his wife, the report said. The report is unclear about what Brown said happened next.

Deputies again clarified with his wife that she was injured when Brown threw the plate, and not by her own actions, the report said. Brown was arrested.

O’Sullivan is conducting his own internal investigation, which includes relying on the facts gathered by the sheriff’s office and the guidance of the city attorney, in determining what sanctions to seek against Brown.

Brown is the second Franklin police officer to be arrested on a charge of domestic battery in the past 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.

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