Michael Schmidt was arrested on October 19, 2015 on charges of criminal theft for allegedly removing surveillance equipment he found on his farm in August. After discovering the cameras, which had no identification on them, Schmidt removed them and contacted police to report their discovery and ask who they belong to.
Schmidt believes the cameras belong to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and were put there to spy on the happenings and visitors of his farm. He refused to turn them over to the police and, several weeks later, a summons was issued for his arrest. Schmidt was arrested and held overnight in jail on October 29th.
His arrest came on the heels of two back-to-back raids of his farm, which took place during the week of September 29th and ultimately ended in a tense standoff between local authorities and Schmidt supporters, who prevented authorities from leaving the farm with farm equipment and dairy products.
“I am convinced that these charges about the cameras are some sort of revenge,” Schmidt says. “After the investigator and the agents had to leave the farm without the equipment they seized on the October 2, 2015 raid, they want something to show for it.”
For now, the tension between Schmidt and authorities continues to build as his farm has pledged to continue to peacefully grow and produce food as it has always done.
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