A “difficult family situation” escalated this week, when Kim Highsmith, a candidate for the Key West city commission, and her 18-year-old stepson, Thomas, both were arrested Sept. 20 on misdemeanor battery charges, and released the following day.

The arrests occurred hours apart and in different locations on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Kim Highsmith told police the situation started the night of Sunday, Sept. 18 when she and her husband, Bobby Highsmith, a current Monroe County school board member, were having a verbal argument. The stepson told police that both Kim and Bobby Highsmith were intoxicated at the time of the argument, which continued into Monday morning, Sept. 19.

At one point the stepson intervened in the argument and admitted to throwing water on Kim Highsmith, who told police she had defended herself. She acknowledged that her stepson may have received scratches on his neck during the altercation. Kim Highsmith added that her relationship with her stepson is “volatile” and sometimes “aggressive.”

Kim Highsmith reportedly called police Monday morning, Sept. 19, when the argument continued and Bobby Highsmith, according to the police report, “placed the family pets in his vehicle and stated he was ‘dropping them off at the SPCA.’”

When police arrived at their Seidenberg Avenue home, the stepson had left for classes at Key West High School.  Bobby Highsmith eventually returned with the pets.

Police interviewed the stepson at school, where he admitted to throwing water on his stepmother. Police also noted scratches around his neck. 

Thomas Highsmith was arrested in the afternoon on Tuesday, Sept. 20 for misdemeanor battery for throwing the water. Kim Highsmith was arrested that evening on the same misdemeanor charge, given the scratches on Thomas’s neck.

Both were taken to jail on Sept. 20 and released on Sept. 21.

Attorney Michael Halpern is representing Thomas Highsmith, and attorney Richard Fowler is representing Kim Highsmith, Halpern said on Friday, Sept. 23.

Kim Highsmith is running against Lissette Cuervo Carey for the District 4 city commission seat and was the top vote-getter in the August primary that included four candidates.

Bobby Highsmith is completing his term on the school board and did not seek reelection.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.