Co-owner of restaurant tells 911 not to send police
By Joe Douglass, On Your Side Investigator May 16, 2014
SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. - A business co-owner called 911 about a potentially deadly situation at a restaurant, and told the dispatcher not to send police. It happened at the Red & Black Cafe on Southeast 12th Avenue Thursday afternoon.
Police say John Langley, a co-owner of the restaurant, was standing out on the sidewalk with his arms crossed. They say a man inside was suffering from a heroin overdose.
"We don't allow police in here so we can totally accommodate the fire department and other emergency personnel,” Langley told a 911 dispatcher, “Not police, though."
“I'm required to send everybody," the dispatcher said.
“OK, well, if the police try and come in here,” Langley replied, “There's gonna be another problem."
Langley says he found a man curled up in the bathroom and barely breathing.
"The person was slumped against the wall and I was scared that they were dying or dead maybe,” Langley said.
He says paramedics arrived quickly and went inside to treat the man.
“So the officers talked with medical personnel and said really it's your call,” said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau. “If you want us to come in with you, we will come in."
Simpson says officers were alarmed by the situation.
"It actually generated more of a police response than it normally would have because you know, we're going to an unknown situation with a person potentially overdosing on heroin in a bathroom," Simpson said.
“Definitely the EMTs and the ambulance driver could've handled it,” Langley said. “I kind of feel like I don't know what they were doing there except maybe waiting to see if they could bust the person on something, and I'm not down with that."
The victim was not arrested, nor is he facing any charges. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Simpson says the officers would have been well within their rights to enter the business if necessary.
Langley describes himself as a homeless advocate and anarchist. He has a history of not allowing police into the restaurant. He made headlines back in 2010 for asking an officer to leave after he bought a cup of coffee.