Morro Bay pays $20,000 to settle taser case

February 20, 2014

Morro Bay agreed to pay $20,000 to a man who police officers pepper sprayed and repeatedly tasered during an arrest at the Fuel Dock Saloon in 2012. [NewTimes]

Officers initially charged Brian Lopez Martinez, 23, with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and battery against an officer. As part of the settlement agreement, Martinez plead no contest to one count of interfering with an officer and received credit for time served.

Around midnight on June 8, 2012, officer Mark Martin and a new officer he was training, Nicole Canby, went into the club for a bar check. A confrontation between the officers, Martinez and his friend Joseph Ian escalated into a scuffle which then resulted in the repeated taser shots.

Martinez was exploring filing a lawsuit against the city when the settlement was agreed to.

morro bay taser

A photo of the incident that was placed on Craigslist.


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Won’t he be surprised when that extra 20k puts him over the threshold for his Obama Care policy and he gets whacked with a big tax bill.

And his welfare may be taken away. then no more scratch-off tickets, cigarettes, dope, or booze.

Gee, he might as well stay home.

someone was hurt badly , but maybe not totally without fault. No one should be shot with a taser!! and peppersprayed unless he/she is being threatening and aggressive. I hope the money helps the person get back to some kind of ‘normal’ . The City has insurance for this purpose. It is a shame people drink too much and authorities lose control.

Perhaps the cops should have just shot him with their sidearm instead? Get real.

Then we would be talking about what a great deal it was not getting the 12 gage in the face.

Oh, you were there?

So if I resist arrest and get Peppered sprayed in Morro Bay the city will give me $20,000? where do I get in line?

I sadly must agree with you givemeabreak… June is just around the corner. but until then I may want to take a shot at that 20 G’s. My own government put me in a Quonset hut full of tear gas for 20 min…I can take a little pepper spray to pay for my golf habit…lol

If you want to slip and fall, leave the coast behind.

SLO city pain threshold must be around 30-50k

Is the Fuel Dock as bad as Happy Jacks used to be? When Dave owned Happy Jacks, he made it very clear that he had no use for the city.

Before Bill bought it, it had become quite a dive as well creep magnet. Dannie tried to revitalize the place with little success.

Oh well, time marches on..

Happy Jacks was ok…..The Fuel Dock on the other hand ……look at the history if its short owners and do a little research on their history. Not a pretty picture. At least Dave Tope had ethics and morals. He was truly respected in our community.

Obviously, neither of you knows bars. Dave Tope’s old Happy Jack’s WAS, hands down, the greatest bar – no, greatest ESTABLISHMENT – this town has ever, and will ever see, from it’s bilious sewer-pipe smell to the rotting floorboards and filthy beer mugs, to the cross-eyed fishermen, hollow-faced tweakers, and ghoulish bartenders, to the knife fights, gunfire, drug deals, and prostitution. I thank you very much to never again mention the new Fuel Dock in the same breath as that sacred old haunt.

Didn’t something kind of similar to this happen at the Buoy – maybe a couple of years ago? It seems to me that it was something about the police going into the bar and somehow getting a patron to go outside, and then citing him for being drunk in public.

The very few police officers I have met in Morro Bay have all seemed so pleasant and low key. It’s very hard to understand why they do things like this. Maybe the pressure of the job gets to them.

The Bouy (is) was owned by the same guy who bought Happy Jacks. No surprises that this would happen again. These places are very well known to the police due to their unsavory patronage.

That guy is dead…..his swindler partner has it now.

Bill owned it originally…lots of drug use. Is he still alive?

I’m not surprised. Schooners was once part of this group.

That was very funny…who wrote that for you? lol

Hank Chinaski.


I knew Dave personally, and not even HE would admit that moral and ethics were his strong suit. Having said that, for decades, he remained defiant to the city’s many attempts to force him to clean up the place. He appreciated a certain level of sleaze and realized it came with the territory when operating a corner bar in a fishing village.

While Dave may have been respected by the community, Happy Jack’s wasn’t, unless you were a die hard patron.

Seal of approval, as far as I’m concerned – doesn’t take much to make Morro Bayites queasy and feint.

Looks like the city got off cheap. $20,000 is like the most the city will ordinarily pay to just make things go away.

But ususally they won’t settle a police brutality/misconduct case, so this guy was fortunate that he got a settlement at all.

Had it been any more than this the insurance company probably would have stepped in and denied any settlement. They don’t like to settle police cases because it encourages more such claims. And they are very hard to win for a plaintiff, as juries tend to believe the cops more than people who are drinking at a bar.

A settlement this small will probably come out off the risk management fund, as there is still more than $500,000 left after paying off the city attorney and city manager.

What’s odd is I met a guy who claimed to be there that night and his version of the events was very different than what has been reported. He said the initial contact with police was outside on the sidewalk not inside the bar.

His version wasn’t very sympathetic to the police, whom he said were acting very aggressive. That wouldn’t surprise me with Ofc. Martin.

Good for you dude. Spend your money wisely, there’s no more coming.

Officers to aggressive? Who knows, often times it is cheaper to settle than to win in court. I’ll bet this is one of those times

Especially No More Anger when you just lost the BEST City Attorney MB ever had

When situations like this happen, who pays the settlement? The city? Perhaps it should be deducted from the officers pay to entice proper procedures. Obviously the officers were over zealous in their tasing, otherwise charges would have negated any complaints from the perp.

Yet another pay out in an attempt to make things…just go away.

Very good comrades.

Looks like crime pays, at least in Morro Bay