911 Tapes Released In Domestic Disputes At Lawmaker’s Home
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LAKE VILLA, Ill. (CBS) – Biting, scratching, swinging punches – descriptions of reported violence on the home of an Illinois lawmaker. They center around Illinois State Sen. Suzi Schmidt (R-Lake Villa) and her husband, Robert.
As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, Lake County Sheriff’s police have released 911 tapes from domestic disturbances at the Schmidts’ home. What’s on those tapes raised questions of whether Senator Schmidt tried to use her political position to quash a police investigation.
In one call to a sheriff’s dispatcher, Schmidt said, “I was the Lake County Board Chairman for ten years” and tells police to ignore any calls from her husband.
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“Listen, I’m having a little problem with my husband right now,” Senator Schmidt says in the call.
“Like a domestic type problem?” the dispatcher asks.
“Yes, but it’s fine,” Schmidt adds. “So, if he calls you, Bob Schmidt, you can ignore him.”
It’s a call police say the freshman state senator made to 911, raising questions if she was trying to abuse her position to avoid having police respond to her husband’s calls for help in a domestic dispute.
Was it an abuse of power?
David Morrison, associate director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said, “As a personal citizen, she doesn’t have any clout, she doesn’t have any connections.”
In another call on Sept. 26, Robert Schmidt is heard accusing his wife of biting him. At first, Senator Schmidt is heard on the call denying biting her husband, but later in the same call, she admits to it.
“She bit me a couple times,” Robert Schmidt says in the call.
“I did not bite you,” Senator Schmidt is heard saying.
“I had to wrestle her down to the floor just to control her just so she would quit attacking me,” Robert Schmidt continues. “And she scraped my face and my eye.”
The 911 dispatcher says, “Okay, so tell me what exactly happened.”
“We were arguing and then she just started coming at me and swinging and scratching at my face,” Robert Schmidt says. “And then when I tried to fight her off, she bit me on one arm.”
At that point, Senator Schmidt is heard in the background saying, “You bet I did.”
In all, lake county sheriff’s police have released recordings of four domestic battery issues with the couple.
Officers say they’ve been called the home twice in the last six weeks. One call came Aug. 16, when Robert Schmidt complained his wife hit his car with hers near Cedar Lake and Fairfield in their Lake Villa subdivision.
“I, uh, was just rammed in my car by my wife in her car,” Robert Schmidt says in the call.
“Okay, does anybody need an ambulance?” the 911 dispatcher asks.
“No, don’t need an ambulance. I’m a little shaky right now, but she just, she just plowed into me like two or three times. Then a little bit harder the next time, then she really rammed me,” Robert Schmidt tells the dispatcher.
In one of the calls, Senator Schmidt told the 911 operator that the arguments the couple had were because she caught her husband cheating.
No one has been charged in any of the incidents.
In a statement on Wednesday, Senator Schmidt said the incidents came during “a very emotional period in my 31-year marriage.”
Schmidt denied trying to inappropriately use her position to influence the case, although she admitted identifying herself by her title.
“However, I apologize if any of my comments during this very emotional time seem inappropriate,” she added. “I am taking the appropriate steps to deal with these issues. It is a very difficult, personal family matter that I would like to deal with privately.”