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RACINE — The City Attorney’s Office has put forward a request to the City Council that would allow it to represent Racine Police officers Michael Seeger and Chad Melby in a federal lawsuit over an arrest in 2012.

The briefing, prepared by attorney Marisa Roubik, cites Wisconsin Statute 895.46, which requires municipalities to either defend or pay for the defense of a city employee if they are sued for actions taken while on duty.

An alternative option would be for the employee to pay for their own defense and then seek reimbursement from the city. Roubik wrote that by representing them in-house, the city is better able to manage the costs and defense of the officers.

Wisconsin Statute 62.115 grants the City Council authority to permit the City Attorney’s Office to represent city officers or employees in such situations.

The request is scheduled to go before the City Council at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.

The lawsuit

The complaint for case 18-C-1498, which was filed on Sept. 24 with the federal District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, pertains to the arrest of Roy A. Anderson, who is currently incarcerated at the John C. Burke Correctional Center in Waupun. Anderson alleges that Seeger and Melby violated his Fourth Amendment rights, which protect against unlawful search and seizure.

According to the complaint, at about 9 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2012, Anderson exited the back door of his residence at 955 Washington Ave. and met with some friends on the sidewalk. One friend said they saw a police car stop and pull away.

Anderson walked a friend to the front of the building and when he was returning to the back, he alleges that Seeger drove a squad car up onto the sidewalk with high beams on. At that point, the officers approached Anderson, who dropped a medicine bottle containing cocaine.

Anderson alleges that Seeger asked if he could search his pockets and Anderson told him “no.” Anderson alleges that Seeger searched his pockets anyway. Finding nothing, the officers searched the nearby grass and found the medicine bottle.

In addition to citing the Fourth Amendment, the complaint cites Racine municipal ordinance Sec. 66-107 which reads:

a) No person shall loiter or prowl in a place, at a time, or in a manner not usual for law abiding individuals, under circumstances that warrant alarm for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity. Among the circumstances which may be considered in determining whether such a claim is warranted is the fact that the actor takes flight upon the appearance of a police officer, refuses to identify himself, or manifestly endeavors to conceal himself or any object. Unless flight by the actor or other circumstances makes it impracticable, a peace officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this subsection, afford the actor an opportunity to dispel any alarm which would otherwise be warranted, by requesting him to identify himself and explain his presence and conduct. No person shall be convicted of an offense under this subsection if the peace officer did not comply with the preceding sentence, or if it appears at trial that the explanation given by the actor was true and, if believed by the peace officer at the time, would have dispelled the alarm.

(b) No person shall loiter, loaf, wander, stand or remain idle either alone or in consort with others in a public place so as to obstruct any public street, highway, sidewalk or any other public place or building by hindering or impeding or tending to hinder or impede the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles or pedestrians in such a manner that it is reasonable to believe will cause a threat to public safety or a breach of the peace.

In 2013,

to two counts of cocaine possession, which had been reduced from possession with intent to sell, and was sentenced to three years, one in prison and two with extended supervision.He was

and pleaded no contest. In June 2016, he was sentenced to 10 years with five years in prison, five years with extended supervision.

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Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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