Charge filed against Craig police officer
A Craig Police Department officer faces a misdemeanor following an alleged domestic violence incident against his wife in late November.
Frank Schmedeke, 37, is charged in Moffat County Court with harassment, a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The charge was filed Thursday and comes with a domestic violence enhancer, which identifies the victim in the alleged incident as someone in his household.
Schmedeke appeared Tuesday in Moffat County Court, but proceedings were continued until Dec. 13 to allow prosecutor Rusty Prindle to familiarize himself with the case.
Prindle is the Routt County chief deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District.
Jon Pfeifer, Moffat County chief deputy district attorney, said Schmedeke’s case was transferred to the Routt County office to protect the integrity of the legal process.
“This wouldn’t have been my case anyway,” Pfeifer said. “But, this office has close relationships with officers on both sides of the case, and I thought it would be more appropriate if the Routt County office handled it.”
Pfeifer said he raised his concerns with Elizabeth Oldham, 14th Judicial District Attorney, who approved transferring prosecuting duties to the Routt County office.
Prindle said the district attorney’s office does not file formal charges in a misdemeanor case. The summons issued by the arresting officer is used as the charging document.
However, Prindle said Schmedeke’s court appearance Dec. 13 will be a status review hearing in which his office will decide to either proceed with, amend or dismiss the misdemeanor.
“I’m viewing this case with the same perspective as any other case,” Prindle said. “I’m evaluating the evidence to see what charges, if any, the evidence supports. We’ll make our decision based solely on that.”
In addition to Tuesday’s continuance, Judge Sandra Gardner softened the terms of Schmedeke’s restraining order.
Initially, Schmedeke was barred from any contact with his wife.
According to the new restraining order, Schmedeke may visit his wife with her consent.
In return, Schmedeke is banned from carrying a firearm, prohibited from consuming alcohol or taking controlled substances, and may not harass, intimidate, retaliate against, or tamper with the alleged victim.
Violation of the restraining order carries a penalty of $5,000, up to 18 months in jail, and would constitute contempt of court.
The restraining order remains in effect until final disposition or further court order.
Schmedeke was arrested Nov. 27 on suspicion of harassment and domestic violence.
According to a Moffat County Sheriff’s Office affidavit, Schmedeke allegedly grabbed his wife’s wrists and pushed her against a wall in their home in the 1100 block of Legion Street during an altercation that night.
He was booked into Moffat County Jail and was released Nov. 28 after posting a $750 personal recognizance bond, according to court records.
Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said the status of Schmedeke’s paid administrative suspension is unchanged and will remain that way until the district attorney’s office decides whether or not to prosecute the case.
“He remains on suspension,” Vanatta said. “We are awaiting all of the reports, so we can determine what, if any, action needs to be taken internally.”
His arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before Judge Sandra Gardner.