ELKHART, Ind. — REAL News Michiana is learning more about a police officer with Concord Community Schools who was fired from his job for having an inappropriate relationship with a recent student. It turns out, the police department located within the school corporation ignored concerns about the officer’s behavior that had been brought to their attention more than a year ago. That behavior included the officer using a taser to attempt to kill a mouse while he was working at another school and the officer using his law enforcement computer to run license plates for personal use.
According to an email sent to Concord High School families, Officer Eric Schuman was put on administrative leave in early September after the school corporation was “alerted of unwanted communications… to a former, recent graduated student.”
“Concord community schools determined that officer Schuman’s conduct was not unlawful, and was not an exchange of photos or videos, but was unbecoming of a law enforcement officer — especially an officer assigned to serve and protect students and staff — and in doing so, violated board policy,” the email reads. “In response, Concord Community Schools ended Officer Schuman’s employment during the board meeting on Monday, October 2.”
HISTORY OF CONCERNING BEHAVIOR
Schuman had only worked at Concord for about a year and a half before his termination. Prior to that, he was employed by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. It turns out, he had multiple incidents of bad judgement during his time at the Sheriff’s Department.
RNM was able to track down depositions from a recent lawsuit in which Schuman and his superiors detail multiple incidents that led to discipline for Officer Schuman.
According to sworn testimony from Elkhart County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Casey Lehman in 2022, Schuman had at one point been disciplined for tasering a mouse in front of students at Fairfield High School.
“He was filling in as a school resource officer temporarily, for, I believe it was off-duty. It would have been off-duty employment, so he was actually employed by the school at the time, and paid by the school; where he disposed, or attempted to dispose of a mouse using his taser.” Lt. Casey said during the deposition. “And, it did not function the way it was, the way he thought it was going to function. And then the, that was done in front of students.”
Lt. Lehman also described an incident in which Schuman was running license plates of citizens for personal use.
“I know he was involved in a, like a drive-through at some coffee place, where he ran somebody’s license plate there.” Lehman said in the sworn testimony.
RNM is working to get formal complaints and reports from that incident. However, sources tell RNM Schuman was running the plates of young women at the time.
CCSPD CHIEF WAS WARNED ABOUT SCHUMAN’S BEHAVIOR
RNM has also learned Concord Schools Police Chief John Riddle was made aware of the incidents. In a Facebook Messenger conversation, a citizen advised Chief Riddle of Schuman’s previous behavior. However, Chief Riddle quickly shrugged those concerns off.
“Chief Minder was the chief at the time Concord hired Eric. Chief Minder has known Eric for many years, and I’ve gotten to know Eric since joining Concord last July, and seen first hand how professional Eric presents himself as a police officer and father. I trust Minder’s decision bringing on Eric to CCSPD.” Chief Riddle wrote. “Moving forward as I become Chief, I will lead by example, and I am confident Eric and the next officer I hire will continue he standard Minder has set forth with CCSPD.”
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