Disorderly Conduct Results in Use of Taser by Park Rangers
Contact: Public Affairs Officer, 307.739.3393
Late Thursday evening, August 15, Grand Teton National Park rangers deployed a Taser during the arrest of Edwin Matthew Schmidt, a 47-year-old seasonal concession employee and resident of Fountain Hills, Arizona. Jackson Lake Lodge security officers called park rangers at 10:45 p.m. for assistance with an intoxicated individual near their employee residential area.
Upon arrival, park rangers located a man walking along the side of the road leading to the employee residential area who matched the description provided by security officers. Rangers stopped to question the man—who was Edwin Schmidt—and assess his condition. Schmidt refused to comply with rangers' requests and instead took an aggressive, assault-like stance with clenched fists and lowered head. After repeated requests to comply with their lawful orders, which were ignored, rangers resorted to using a Taser to subdue Schmidt and take him into custody. Schmidt was then transported to Teton County Jail.
After the arrest, multiple witnesses came forward and stated that Schmidt made reference to having multiple bombs set to 'go off' in the morning. Additional rangers were called out to investigate this threat and a thorough search of the employee residential area was conducted. The bomb threat was determined to be baseless.
On Tuesday, August 20, Schmidt appeared before the federal magistrate where he pled guilty to driving under the influence (DUI), and to 18 U.S.C. § 111: Assaulting, resisting, or impeding park rangers. He was sentenced to 20 days in custody and two years of probation. He was also banned from Grand Teton National Park for two years and ordered to consume no alcohol for that same period.
Tasers are a non-lethal weapon used by law enforcement officers to subdue belligerent or potentially dangerous people when other methods of defense become ineffective; they are typically used when the safety of a ranger or the public is at stake. In this particular incident, no injuries were sustained to the involved rangers or to Schmidt.
This incident marked the second use of a Taser in just one week at Grand Teton National Park.