- By Jane Musgrave Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Another juror who helped convict Boynton Beach police Sgt. Philip Antico has contacted authorities with concerns about how the panel decided the veteran officer lied to FBI agents about his role in a 2014 beating, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Attorney Gregg Lerman said he learned about the second juror just before the start of an nearly all-day hearing during which Antico and fellow Officer Michael Brown asked a federal judge to consider factors that would allow her to give them either probation or house arrest, respectively, in connection with the beating of 25-year-old Jeffrey Braswell. Both are to be sentenced on Feb. 27.
U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg last month rejected Lerman’s request to interview juror Devin Andersen Treadway about her claims that she was bullied by fellow jurors into convicting Antico of obstruction of justice. Treadway’s description of her treatment is typical of the type of back-and-forth that occurs during jury deliberations and did not warrant further investigation, Rosenberg ruled.
Lerman said he doesn’t know if the second juror wants to corroborate Treadway’s allegations. He learned about the second juror from Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Osborne, who helped prosecute both Antico and Brown in separate trials in November. Osborne is serving on a jury in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, so was unable to answer his questions, Lerman said.
Osborne told him the second juror contacted the spouse of another federal prosecutor, Lerman said. Once he gets additional information, Lerman said he will decide what action, if any, to take.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Brown focused on a grainy video that he claims shows he was not holding a gun when he punched Braswell, an unarmed passenger in a car that hit a Boynton police officer and then fled on Interstate 95 with nine other officers in pursuit.
The video was an enhanced version of one shot by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s helicopter that joined in the chase. The sheriff’s video, showing officers kicking and punching Braswell and two others who were dragged from the car, was repeatedly shown to the juries, which convicted Brown and Antico. Two other officers were acquitted of wrongdoing.
Stepping down from the bench, Rosenberg intensely watched the video, which was enhanced after Brown was convicted of violating Braswell’s civil rights. His attorney, Bruce Reinhart, insisted that the enhanced version shows Brown holstering his gun before hitting Braswell.
If Rosenberg agrees, it would reduce Brown’s possible punishment because the use of a gun during a crime is a more serious offense. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Brown, a widower who cares for his 10-year-old son and 71-year-old mother, faces a maximum 9 years in prison.
Federal prosecutor Donald Tunnage disputed Reinhart’s description of the enhanced video. Brown had his gun in his hand when he kicked and punched Braswell, Tunnage said. Therefore, he said, the sentencing guidelines should stand.
Antico also tried to persuade Rosenberg that his maximum 3-year sentence was miscalculated. Lerman argued that Antico’s possible punishment is inflated because the sergeant is being blamed for the actions of Brown and the other officers. Antico was the supervisor on duty but wasn’t at the scene.
Antico was convicted of obstruction of justice for lying to FBI agents who were later investigating the officers’ actions. Antico allowed his officers to change their reports after learning the beating had been captured on video, then told agents no changes had been made.
Rosenberg promised to issue a written ruling soon.