A Portland restaurant co-owner refused to let police into his establishment while a man was overdosing on heroin in the bathroom.
Police say that John Langley, co-owner of Red & Black Café, stood in front of the restaurant with his arms crossed while the man was inside.
"We don't allow police in here so we can totally accommodate the fire department and other emergency personnel,” Langley told a 911 dispatcher Thursday afternoon. “Not police, though."
The dispatcher explained that he was “required to send everybody.”
“OK, well, if the police try and come in here,” Langley replied, “There's gonna be another problem."
Langley told KATU-TV that he’d found the man lying against bathroom wall. He appeared to be barely breathing.
"The person was slumped against the wall and I was scared that they were dying or dead maybe,” Langley said.
Langley, who made headlines in 2010 for turning away a cop who had paid for a cup of coffee, had said that he wants his café to be a space for the homeless and marginalized to hang out without the presence of law enforcement.
"We don’t kick them out just because they don’t have the money to buy stuff and we let them use our bathroom,” Langley told the New York Daily News. "For a lot of people, it’s their only private space."
Langley maintains that despite the clear emergency, the police presence wasn’t necessary.
“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."
Paramedics quickly arrived and brought the man to the hospital. He was treated and released without being arrested.
Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said the officers would have been within their right to enter the restaurant.
"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," said Simpson.