On April 8, a Sacramento High Court judge sentenced a former Elk Grove police officer to nearly one year in prison for assaulting an unarmed burglary in 2019.
An agent’s camera filmed the defendant pulling out his firearm and hitting the suspect in the head while he was lying on the floor outside a clothing store he had just stolen.
Bryan Wayne Schmidt, 46, was sentenced to 364 days in pretrial detention in the Sacramento County Main Prison. Sacramento High Court Judge Delbert Oros also gave him two years probation. If he violates his parole, he would be sentenced to three years in prison, said Shelly Orios, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Prosecutor’s Office.
The judge in this case rejected Citizen’s request to serve the April 8 sentence in the main courthouse in downtown Sacramento.
Schmidt was initially facing four years in state prison after a jury on March 14 convicted him of a felony count of assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
Elk Grove police reviewed Schmidt’s confrontation with suspect Juan Mendoza and reported that the officer’s assault caused him to have subdural bruises or cerebral hemorrhage. Mendoza required brain surgery after the incident, police said.
Following her conviction, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Schmidt violated public confidence in law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officers do an excellent job every day to keep our community safe,” he said in a press release. “Unfortunately, this was a rare case in which an officer violated the public’s trust and unnecessarily used excessive force causing serious injury to an individual.”
Elk Grove senior police officials were unaware that Schmidt had used force against Mendoza until four months later, when the suspect filed a claim for damages. They then began their investigation and in March 2020 announced that Schmidt had been fired from the police.
Police also released a 15-minute YouTube video of the June 5, 2019 clash between Schmidt and Mendoza outside the Burlington Coat Factory. They presented images of the cameras of the police force and the cameras of the patrol cars. Elk Grove police chief Tim Albright also appeared in the video to criticize Schmidt’s actions.
“It has been determined that the use of force by an officer is against the policy of the department and is not in line with any training provided by our department,” he stated.
Mendoza and two accomplices stole merchandise from the store and assaulted security there. Then two officers arrived at the scene and confronted them outside the business where they ordered them to fall to the ground. In the video, Mendoza lay down, but did not extend his arms like a “plane”, as ordered by the police.
The video then shows Schmidt getting out of his patrol car and approaching Mendoza from behind. After repeatedly ordering him to shake hands, he kicked Mendoza in the head. Then another agent arrived to handcuff him and arrest him.
Elk Grove police also had Schmidt’s recorded conversation with an officer about how he handled Mendoza.
“He was like smiling, making that smile, so I was like ‘Wham!’ he said in the video. (He) finally got his hands out. “
Prior to Schmidt’s conviction last month, the town of Elk Grove filed a temporary restraining order against Schmidt for allegedly threatening Albright and three home investigators. Suzanne Kennedy, a city attorney, reported that the former officer told a police officer at a restaurant that he wished to physically injure the police chief. He also reportedly emailed members of Elk Grove City Council and accused Albright of ruining his life.
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