SHEBOYGAN -- The city of Sheboygan is being asked to pay more than $6 million for the injuries and anguish two bartenders experienced this past summer. They were inside the Union Avenue Tap when Sheboygan Police shot and killed an armed robber.
One of those bartenders was severely wounded by a stray bullet. The other says she suffers from severe mental suffering after being involved in the traumatic event.
Surveillance video shows Kevin Higgins - a veteran suffering from PTSD, armed with a rifle - robbing the Union Avenue Tap on July 17th. When Higgins walked out of the bar, two Sheboygan police officers were there waiting for him. In an exchange of gunfire, Higgins was killed, and the bartender who called police - Kurt Klessig - was shot in the hand. A bullet also grazed Klessig’s chest.
The claim filed against the city is a precursor to a lawsuit. It says “Officers Anthony Hamilton and Brandon Kehoe knew, or should have known, that by positioning themselves as they did, the bartenders Kurt Klessig and Mary Heitzmann, were in the officers’ field of fire."
The claim says the officers acted in violation of Sheboygan Police Rules and industry standards. But, both officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Sheboygan County District Attorney.
Klessig and Heitzmann are each seeking $2.5 million for pain, suffering, disability and loss of earning capacity., along with an additional $800,000 each for attorney fees.
Sheboygan city leaders declined to comment at the city council meeting Monday night. They have 120 days to respond to the claim.
TODAY'S TMJ4 reached out to both bartenders and their attorney, Robert Elliott, but have not heard back. No word on when the lawsuit will be filed.