by Nick Welsh
A Santa Barbara man who claims city police illegally beat and detained him after he exited a State Street bar on Halloween two years ago has sued the City of Santa Barbara in federal court, claiming civil rights violations. Shawn Comrie, an independent real estate broker, claims that city police attacked him shortly after he came out of O’Malley’s with his wife, brother-in-law, and several other friends and relatives. At the time, Comrie was dressed as the Incredible Hulk. According to City Attorney Steve Wiley, Comrie sustained an abrasion while resisting arrest late Halloween evening. But according to Comrie’s attorney Tom Beck, officers told Comrie — who was inebriated at the time — to stop at the crosswalk as he came out of O’Malley’s, and that Comrie did so until the walk sign indicated he could proceed. As Comrie started to cross the street, Beck said two officers knocked him to the ground and two more attacked afterward. “To cover up, they charged him with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest,” Beck stated. Comrie fought those charges in court and was acquitted in a jury trial. Beck said Comrie wants the $40,000 he spent on legal fees, plus $1 million Beck claims Comrie forfeited from a real estate commission lost as an indirect result of the incident. The Santa Barbara City Council met in closed session Tuesday afternoon to discuss the case. Comrie has yet to make any demands; the city, for its part, has not made any offers. The case is scheduled for trial in federal court later this winter.