Shawano County Board member charged with strangling farm employee
SHAWANO - A Shawano County Board member has been charged with choking an employee of his farm, Schmidt's Ponderosa in the town of Hartland.
Officers responded just before 11 a.m. Nov. 22 to a call of an assault that occurred almost eight hours earlier.
According to a criminal complaint filed Nov. 25 in Shawano County Circuit Court, two men who lived in employee housing as part of their payment for work reported that Peter A. Schmidt, 27, entered their room about 3 a.m. and yelled at them for not being ready for their 3:30 a.m. shift. They told a translator they had overslept and had trouble finding a ride to work.
After Schmidt returned 15 minutes later, he was still angry, the complaint said, and he held one of the men down on the bed by the throat and strangled him. The other employee recorded the incident on his phone, the complaint states.
In the video, an officer saw Schmidt yelling in Spanish about respecting the boss, the complaint states. Afterwards, Schmidt packed their belongings and fired them.
Schmidt told the officer there is "protocol" for employees working 12-hour shifts so the farm is not low on manpower. He denied choking the man and said he just pulled the man's feet toward him.
Schmidt faces charges of disorderly conduct and strangulation and suffocation. Bail was set at $500. He represents District 14, including areas of the towns of Hartland, Angelica, and Washington in Shawano County.