Fresno Deputy faces battery charge

Tulare County District Attorney's office files battery charges against Fresno County deputy Eric Schmidt, who is set to appear in Fresno Superior Court Nov. 1

County of Tulare courthouse and county offices edifice - Photo by Rigo Moran
County of Tulare courthouse and county offices edifice - Photo by Rigo Moran
Darren Fraser
Published September 26, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

FRESNO COUNTY – As of Sept. 22, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office has filed battery charges against Fresno County deputy Eric Schmidt. 

The Tulare County DA’s Office has a longstanding agreement with the Fresno County DA’s office to assist in cases where a conflict might be present in either office. The charges against Schmidt, who is the president of the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association, are stemming from an incident on Feb. 15.

According to a document filed with the Fresno County Superior Court Criminal Division, on or about the day of Feb. 15, Schmidt did “willfully and unlawfully use force and violence upon the person of [name redacted].” According to the document, if Schmidt is convicted, he must relinquish all firearms for a period of 10 years.

Schmidt has been a deputy with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office since 1997. He has been president of the Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association since 2008.

In a statement, the association said it was “disappointed by the decision of the Tulare County District Attorney to file what appears to be a baseless charge.”

According to various news reports, the incident occurred on Jan. 31. ,

Sheriff John Zanoni issued the following statement:

“The Sheriff’s Office is aware of an incident that occurred involving Deputy Eric Schmidt in which he has been charged with CA Penal Code section 242, Battery. The incident was investigated by the Fresno Police Department who is the agency of jurisdiction; the case was filed in the Fresno County Superior Court. 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.”

Schmidt is an adjunct professor at the Fresno City College Police Academy. In 2023, Gov. Newsom appointed him to the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

In a Sept. 25 email to the Times, Stuart Anderson, communications director for the Tulare County District Attorney, said Schmidt is scheduled to appear Nov. 1 in Fresno Superior Court for arraignment.

Darren Fraser