(Juneau) The challenger in the race for Dodge County Sheriff says a federal lawsuit involving his opponent could be costly for taxpayers. Mark Colker is challenging Dale Schmidt for the Republican nomination on the August 9 ballot. Colker says the lawsuit filed by Selepri Amachree, and currently under appeal, contains “disturbing” details.
“If it’s absolutely true that individual was held without an Immigration and Customs hold, without any other type of warrant from our criminal justice system, no hold from a probation or parole, or no local charges,” Colker says, “that’s very concerning to be because we’ve taken someone’s civil liberties and we have incarcerated them for six months without due process.”
Amachree was held for six months in the Dodge County Jail. He contends that the sheriff conspired with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to detain him. Amachree was born in Liberia but came to America when he was three years old. Amachree had deportation ordered following a drug arrest over 20 years ago. However, the Supreme Court determined in 2006 that such drug offenses did not rise to the level of deportation. Amachree claimed his illegal detention was motivated by his work with recovering drug addicts in the county court system. Colker has filed open records requests from the sheriff but has not yet received the information. However, he contends that if the emails referenced in the complaint are any indication, his opponent appears to have tried to cover his tracks.
“I have concerns with some of the emails cited in there from the sheriff that say he sent it out to 30 some individuals in the community that told them he wanted them all on the same page as it relates to this incident,” Colker says, “that’s concerning if it is an attempt to get everyone on the same page so that ‘we can cover something up’ then that’s concerning to me.”
While it is common for officials to refrain from commenting on pending litigation, Schmidt says he spoke with attorneys and was given leeway to make a short statement about the lawsuit.
“It was dismissed and it was rambling, it didn’t make any sense, it didn’t follow any of the dates, but we didn’t do anything wrong,” Schmidt says, “in a lawsuit you can say anything you want to, you can put anything in an affidavit doesn’t mean it’s actually true and accurate, it’s an accusation. I will tell you that our staff did nothing wrong, the DA did nothing wrong, my investigators all they did was investigate.”
Schmidt calls the accusations by his opponents nothing more than politics.
“There was an active detainer, of which I worked with a law enforcement agency and that law enforcement agency took the individual into custody,” Schmidt says, “we did nothing wrong and I stand by that statement and the accusations that are being thrown out there are one: inappropriate because of how it’s coming out and two: two false, there is no story there and its funny how every time I come up for election, all the sudden this becomes an issue. It’s an election issue that’s all it is.”
There is no democrat appearing on the November ballot for sheriff.