A federal grand jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, returned a six-count indictment yesterday charging Boynton Beach Police Officer Michael Brown and former Boynton Beach Police Officers Justin Harris and Ronald Ryan, Jr., with unlawfully assaulting an arrestee, J.B., during a traffic stop on August 20, 2014 and then filing false reports of the incident. Boynton Beach Police Sergeant Phillip Antico was charged with falsifying a report of the incident and obstructing justice during the investigation.
The indictment alleges that while serving as patrol officers and conducting a traffic stop of a vehicle, Brown, Harris and Ryan unlawfully assaulted one of that vehicle’s passengers, J.B. The indictment further alleges that Antico, as the patrolmen’s supervisor, and Harris aided and abetted one another in falsifying a report of the incident and that Antico further intentionally misled a federal agent who conducted an investigation of the incident. The indictment also alleges that Brown, Harris and Ryan made false entries in reports of the incident.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
If convicted, Antico, Brown and Ryan each face a maximum punishment of 30 years imprisonment, and Harris faces a maximum punishment of 50 years imprisonment.
This case is being investigated by the West Palm Beach Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Osborne of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney D.W. Tunnage of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.