SHAWANO — A Wisconsin county
board member is accused of choking a worker at his farm
because the worker and a colleague overslept and missed
the start of their shift.
Peter A. Schmidt has been
charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and felony
strangulation and suffocation, the Shawano County
Sheriff's office said. Schmidt is a member of the county
The charges were filed Nov.
25, WBAY-TV reported. According to an affidavit from a
sheriff's deputy, the workers said they overslept Nov. 22.
The workers, who lived in employee quarters on the farm,
told the deputy that Schmidt entered their room and
started yelling at them in Spanish so they would
understand. He left for about 15 minutes and returned
“more angry” because the workers still weren't ready.
Through an interpreter, one
of the workers said Schmidt then insulted him, choked him,
and left him out in the cold. He said Schmidt held him
down on the bed and pressed “downward around the base of
his neck.” The worker said he was having trouble
breathing and losing consciousness.
According to Schmidt's
arrest affidavit, a video recorded on the phone of another
worker shows Schmidt holding down the worker by the throat
on his bed and yelling in Spanish something about
“respecting the boss.” The video also shows Schmidt
packing the workers' belongings, throwing them out, and
telling them to leave.
When Schmidt spoke to
detectives, he said he held the worker in place by his
neck but “didn't choke him out.”
Schmidt posted a $500 cash
bond and has a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 16.
His attorney, Nila
Robinson, did not immediately return a call for comment.