The Morro Bay police officers involved in the macing and repeated tasing of a suspect say they were provoked.
Several witnesses told New Times they saw Brian Lopez Martinez abused by authorities because he refused to talk to police outside of a bar he was patronizing on June 8.
An incident report filed with San Luis Obispo County Superior Court tells another side of the story.
Officers Nicole Canby and Corporal Mark Martin wrote that they were performing a bar check at the Fuel Dock in downtown Morro Bay, standing in the rear of the building, when Lopez Martinez exited the bathroom. They say he shoulder bumped Martin and said something like, “I smell like money; come get some,” before returning to his friends by the bar.
Because of the unwanted physical contact and the smell of liquor and marijuana reportedly emitting from Lopez Martinez, Martin wrote that he decided to place the subject under arrest for battery against an officer and public intoxication.
That’s when all hell broke loose. Lopez Martinez refused to leave the bar, and officers say he pushed them and swung his arms around. Canby shot pepper spray in Lopez Martinez’s face, but he continued to resist. Martin tased him—a lot.
“I believe I activated several cycles of the Taser,” Martin wrote.
The report doesn’t specifically detail how many “cycles.”
Several witnesses who spoke with New Times believe the officers overreacted and that Lopez Martinez only resisted but never fought the police.
Lopez Martinez never underwent alcohol or blood tests after being subdued. In fact, his drunk in public charge was dropped, and he’ll only face charges for resisting arrest and battery against an officer. His arraignment is scheduled for July 9. Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu will represent Lopez Martinez in court.
“It’s absolutely not surprising that the police recollection differs 180 degrees from that of my client and from other witnesses,” Funke-Bilu said.