FOLEY -- The Foley man who punched a political candidate in a Benton County bar last fall has pleaded guilty to felony 3rd-degree assault. As part of the plea, two misdemeanor assault charges will be dismissed against 54-year-old Richard Schmit.

According to the criminal complaint, Minnesota House candidate Shane Mekeland went into the bar and sat down next to Schmit in October 2018 and began talking to Schmit about politics.

Court records show when Mekeland mentioned something about the middle class, Schmit said "You (expletives) don't give a (expletive) about the middle class", then punched Mekeland in the left eye.

A witness said the punch knocked Mekeland backward off his barstool and hit his head on the floor knocking him out momentarily.

Schmit told investigators he had six or seven beers when Mekeland sat down next to him and began campaigning.

Shane Mekeland Candidate Website
Shane Mekeland Candidate Website

The court complaint indicates Mekeland's medical records show he suffered a head injury, concussion, bruised eye, and a nasal injury.

The Republican from Clear Lake was elected to the seat in House District 15B which covers Benton County and parts of Sherburne County.

Schmit will be sentenced in January.


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