Eric Schmidt, a Fresno County Sheriff deputy and leader of the deputy’s union, was charged with misdemeanor battery on Tuesday.
Because the Fresno County District Attorney’s office is conflicted out, the Tulare County DA examined the case, and filed charging documents in Fresno. Schmidt is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 1.
Fresno Police Investigated
Fresno police handled the investigation for the alleged incident on Feb. 15, 2023. While they will not reveal details — including Schmidt’s relationship with the victim — a police spokesman says this is not a domestic violence situation.
“The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an ongoing administrative investigation into this incident which involves the criminal case filing. I want to remind everyone that the Sheriff’s Office takes all allegations seriously and will ensure that a thorough administrative investigation is conducted in this case. At this time, Deputy Eric Schmidt has not been placed on paid administrative leave, pending further investigation,” Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni said in a news release.
A sheriff’s spokesman said administrative leave policy is done on a case-by-case basis.
Schmidt, 47, has worked with the Fresno County sheriff’s department since 1997, shortly after he graduated from Fresno State. He’s served as president of the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association since 2008.
He was appointed earlier this year to Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training board, by Gov. Gavin Newsom. He has also taught at the Fresno City College Police Academy since 2002.
The Tulare County DA’s office is charging Schmidt with PC 242, defined simply as “A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
“Deputy Schmidt denies the charges, is presumed innocent and looks forward to his exoneration in court,” Schmidt’s San Francisco-based attorney Christopher J. Shea said in a statement.
FSDA is standing behind its leader.
“The Fresno DSA is disappointed by the decision of the Tulare County District Attorney to file what appears to be a baseless charge against Deputy Eric Schmidt. We fully and firmly support Eric and look forward to his ultimate vindication,” said FSDA first vice president Isaac Torres.