Fresno sheriff’s union president accused of battery

Despite a misdemeanor charge in court, Schmidt remains on the force and has not been placed on administrative leave.

Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association President Eric Schmidt has been charged with misdemeanor battery. 

Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni confirmed the charge on Friday. 


The big picture: Schmidt, 47, faces the misdemeanor charge from an incident on Feb. 15, court records show. 

  • Schmidt is accused of battery against another member of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. 
  • The Fresno Police Department investigated the incident and turned it over to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case due to possible conflicts of interest with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. 
  • Schmidt is still working as a deputy and has not been placed on administrative leave. 
  • The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an administrative investigation into the incident and charges. 
  • In March, California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Schmidt to the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). 
  • Schmidt is married to City of Fresno communications director Sontaya Rose. 

What they’re saying: “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,” Zanoni said in a statement. 

  • Schmidt referred The Sun to San Francisco based attorney Christopher Shea for comment.
  • “I am in receipt of the complaint filed in Fresno County Superior Court and have been retained to represent Deputy Schmidt,” Shea said in an email. “Deputy Schmidt denies the charges, is presumed innocent and looks forward to his exoneration in court.”
  • Isaac Torres, the first vice president for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said in an email, “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.”
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