BREAKING: On a Podcast, Milwaukee County Sheriff Schmidt Says Domestic Violence Survivors Should Submit to Their Spouse

Monday, July 30th, 2018
Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman, 414-469-9206,

Click here to listen to the recording. Transcript below.

Who: Wisconsin Women’s March, State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, Genderqueer Milwaukee, Voces de la Frontera Action, Wisconsin Working Families Party, more

What: Press Conference to discuss extremist statements of current Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt

When: Monday, July 30th, 1pm

Where: Milwaukee County Courthouse, Wells Street Entrance.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — For years, Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt has hosted a podcast with a fundamentalist minister where the two promoted a range of divisive, disturbing positions on issues like women’s rights, abortion, and gay marriage. In one recording, posted on October 6, 2017, while Schmidt was Sheriff, Schmidt and the minister, Greg Huffman, say that women who are victims of domestic violence should submit to their spouse.

On Monday at 1pm CST, Milwaukee women’s rights and progressive organizations and State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa will hold a press conference at the Milwaukee County Courthouse to condemn Schmidt’s remarks. Click here for a 1pm livestream of the press conference.

Click here to hear the full clip posted by Schmidt. Click here to hear the discussion of domestic violence in isolation. A transcript follows.

Schmidt: Therefore, let’s look at a couple more Biblical principles that might help us in our relationships, and maybe specifically with a spouse. And we gotta be real honest pastor we try to be as positive as possible in the morning ‘cause mornings can be tough for folks. You’re getting going and starting out your day.

Huffman: You haven’t had your pot of coffee yet (laughs)

Schmidt: (Laughs) Yeah there you go. But you know as sure as we’re sitting here this morning, somebody had a rotten morning already.

Huffman: Yeah, sure.

Schmidt: And unfortunately maybe it was a bad night, and maybe there… some cross words were spoken, and maybe up to physical violence might have taken place.

Huffman: Right, right

Schmidt: Somebody may be listening with a Kleenex in their hand right now and their life is uhhh…

Huffman: Mhm

Schmidt: They’re just on the precipice of destruction right now, wondering, “how in the world do I get out of this, what can I do, is there any hope,” and they’re listening to us this morning and pastor, they’re saying, “can you help me, is there any hope?” What do we tell them?

Huffman:  Well… first of all, I tell them, quit trying to change your spouse, because, that’s uncontrollable. Change yourself.

Schmidt: Hm.

Huffman: And so many times, when I stop looking out the window at what he’s doing or what she’s doing and I start looking in the mirror at what I’m doing, then I realize God is the one that can work on me. And the Bible tell us in First Peter than when God is working on one spouse and that other spouse, even an unbelieving spouse, can watch the amazing things that God is doing, that second spouse will say, “What in the world happened to you and can that happen to me.”

Schmidt: If someone is struggling and their marriage is just in a disaster, and even whether  — it doesn’t even have to be a marriage, it could be one of their children, it could be a parent — and they’re just in conflict, What you’re saying is, get off God’s throne, submit yourself to that person and love that person. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then walk in the spirit, in the Holy Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  So in other words if we’re Christian and we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit and we do what you said, get off the prideful ladder, God can bless that marriage and restore those relationships.

Huffman: And the key word is walk, and you make the choice which path you’re gonna walk on. And so friends as we close this broadcast this morning, if you’re on a path of destruction, of anger, of bitterness, of unforgiveness, you will be destroyed, regardless of how your spouse is acting. Get off that path. Turn to Christ. Let him change your life, your attitude, your motives, your desires, and then God can make things better. Till the next time, may be the Lord bless you in an awesome way.

In other recordings, Schmidt compares abortion to the Holocaust and rejects marriage equality for LGBT peopleClick here to listen to all 121 recordings featuring Schmidt.

“These are not the remarks of a Sheriff who will take a solutions-based and violence-ending approach to domestic abuse,” said Sarah Pearson, Co-Chair of Women’s March Wisconsin. “In a sermon in which domestic violence is discussed, Schmidt urges anyone in a ‘disastrous marriage’ to submit to their spouse. He does not mention contacting law enforcement, seeking refuge at an emergency shelter, or removing oneself from an abusive environment. We know it is not enough to submit to and love one’s spouse or partner when abuse occurs. Action is required. Milwaukee County needs a Sheriff who will take tangible steps to stop domestic violence. These recordings of Sheriff Schmidt, in addition to the abuse scandals that occurred in Milwaukee County jails on his watch, do not give Women’s March Wisconsin confidence in his leadership of the department.”

“These statements are as appalling as anything Schmidt’s mentor David Clarke ever said,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action. “Our movement did not force David Clarke’s resignation just for Richard Schmidt to come and continue his shameful legacy of abuse and disregard for human rights. As Clarke travelled the country making himself into a right wing media celebrity, he made Schmidt his chief deputy. Clarke placed Schmidt in charge of day-to-day operations in the department from 2010 onwards. When 7 people died in the jail in 18 months, Schmidt was the one in charge. When over 1300 Milwaukee residents were handed over to ICE by Sheriff’s deputies over a 10 year period, Schmidt was the one in charge. After he became Sheriff, Schmidt refused to withdraw Clarke’s 287g application to turn Sheriffs into ICE agents. He has refused to stop collaborating with Trump in the separation of Milwaukee families through the use of unconstitutional ICE detainer requests. These recordings are another wake up call for Milwaukee County voters. Voces de la Frontera Action and progressive Milwaukee voters are supporting Earnell Lucas for Sheriff in the August 14th election. The consequences for women, immigrant families, the LGBTQ community, and our most vulnerable residents are too great to ignore.”

“Our community needs a Sheriff whom we can trust to uphold the safety and well-being of all Milwaukee families regardless of race, class, gender, religion, or where we come from,” said Rebecca Lynch, Political Director of Wisconsin Working Families Party. “Richard Schmidt’s shocking statements make clear that he is not that sheriff. This should come as no surprise. Schmidt was mentored by, and follows directly in the footsteps of, ex-Sheriff David Clarke. We chased Clarke out of town, now we have the opportunity to do the same with Schmidt. By electing Earnell Lucas on August 14th, we can put someone in the Sheriff’s office who will use this role to make our communities safer — not as a means to tear us apart.”


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