Published January 03 2012
Girlfriend claimed West Fargo detective who resigned threatened her life
According to recorded jail phone conversations Fargo police reference in a report dated Dec. 15, Sheila Windt allegedly told a friend after both she and Schmidt were arrested that Schmidt had said the night they were arrested, “You are my girlfriend, don’t you forget it. I will … kill you.”
In a separate phone call, documents allege Windt told a friend that Schmidt is abusive and had been for six years. She said that she was “scared to death” of him and had made an appointment at the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, police say in the report about the phone conversations.
Schmidt, who was off-duty when he was arrested, resigned from the West Fargo Police Department on Tuesday morning, West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen said at a news conference Tuesday.
Both Schmidt and Windt were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Schmidt is accused in the pending criminal case of hitting Windt in the face in an altercation prompted in part by his alleged use of a racial slur.
Despite some media reports claiming Rasmussen asked Schmidt to resign, the chief said Tuesday evening that the decision was Schmidt’s. Before he approached Rasmussen on Tuesday morning, there had been no conversation about a possible resignation, Rasmussen said.
“He was the one who brought (resigning) up,” Rasmussen said.
At the news conference, the police chief said Schmidt “believed that that was in his best interest personally, and in the best interest of the department.”
Schmidt had been on paid administrative leave since his arrest. Because of the resignation, the internal investigation of Schmidt is suspended, Rasmussen said.
Reached at his home by phone, Schmidt hung up on a reporter Tuesday night.
Rasmussen said Schmidt had been an excellent officer since joining the department in June 1995. He has worked as a patrol officer and, most recently, as a narcotics investigator. He was also one of the first officers in North Dakota to conduct online investigations on sexual predators, Rasmussen said.
Court records allege that Schmidt and Windt had been drinking in a private suite at The Hub during a concert by metal band Five Finger Death Punch on the night of the incident. Windt told police Schmidt was intoxicated, but she was not drinking because she planned on driving, according to the police report.
They began arguing, Windt told officers, after Schmidt used a racial slur to refer to a black Hub employee whom she knew.
When they reached their vehicle, Schmidt was upset with Windt and would not give her his car keys, she claimed. Windt pulled off Schmidt’s lip ring to distract him and get his keys, according to the report.
Windt said Schmidt then allegedly grabbed her hair and would not give her the keys. She bit his chest in order to free her hair, she told police. She claimed Schmidt hit her in the face and pinned her arm behind her, court records allege.
Windt was able to get the keys and then drove to Schmidt’s brother’s residence in the 3300 block of 32nd Street South, she said. They were arrested nearby.
Schmidt has pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct and is scheduled to appear in court on March 6.
Prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Windt last week, according to Assistant Cass County State’s Attorney Mark Boening. The case was dismissed Tuesday.
According to the motion to dismiss, Schmidt’s attorney told prosecutors that Schmidt would not testify Windt harassed, annoyed or alarmed him, and that prosecutors would otherwise be unable to prove the charges against her.
In a hearing on Thursday, Windt asked Judge Douglas Herman to vacate an order barring Schmidt and her from having any contact. It isn’t clear from online court records if the request was granted.
Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki contributed to this report
Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535