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Part 2 – Where’s a Police Officer to Get a Cup of Coffee? – and Why I write

By Cornelia Seigneur

When I blogged about the experience I had at a local café in Portland where my daughter and I were having a quiet conversation with a Portland Police officer before we were interrupted by the café owner, who asked the police officer to leave, I never dreamed that the response would be so passionate or so numerous — to be honest, I don’t receive a lot of comments on my blog. I suppose I have not written about such an emotional issue before. I surely did not intend any controversy or to bash an establishment. I merely wanted to share my story. (I had actually gone to the Red and Black out of curiosity as I was working on a story for The Oregonian about Matt Mikalatos, the author of the book Imaginary Jesus, whose story is set at the Red and Black.)

I just had to write about it.

I write because that is how I process life. I write because I have to put my heart on paper. I write because I like to share stories. I write to bring light to the world. I write to share good things people are doing. And, as a believer, I write for justice.

I write because I have to write. It is what I do. It is who I am.

As I read through the comments, I am amazed at the amount of support that the Police enjoys in this city. I am intrigued with the many articulate thought provoking comments people made about the good that the police do. I was moved by the comments from the families of Police, Fire or EMT who serve tirelessly without a lot of fanfare or recognition.

I think of the comments from supporters of the decision of the café to ask the police officer to leave its establishment. I was surprised at how volatile people were toward the Police in general, and not just Portland Police. One comment implied that I had not taken the time to find out what the café owner believed and why they felt “unsafe” with the officer there. I did speak at length with the café co-owner, and we just did not get very far as he spoke of this notion how, in the case of a robbery, he would call his friends rather than the police. What does that look like practically, I wondered?

One reader commented that I was simply a white, suburbanite who has no idea what it is like in North Portland. And I answer that the very point of what I was trying to talk to the police officer at the café about, was our Sudan refugee friends who lived in North Portland, one of whom – a 14 year old — the Police saved.

As I spoke with the café owner, I really never got a direct answer as to why he personally felt unsafe with a police officer in his establishment.

Bottom line, I think especially of the policeman I met at the red and black, Officer James Crooker, a human being who should be treated with respect and honor, like all human beings. I think of how humiliating it must have been to be asked to leave a café for no other reason than your profession. It was pure and simple discrimination. Yet, he handled it with such class and dignity. I was sad for him. My point was not to start a dialogue of whether people felt Police was necessary in America, but instead to simply ask why was a police officer asked to leave a café?

I wanted the police officer to know that so many people support what they do to try to keep the rest of us safe. He kept talking about the importance of education. What the officer wants is to start a dialogue in this city, to talk reasonably about issues, to let them know he will always respond with kindness to people even if they are unkind. He is there to do his job.

What I did not want to happen in my original blog post was for it to become a place for meanness and finger pointing and name calling. I just wanted to share my story, to bring light to what happened. There were several blog comments that I just did not want to publish as they used profanity and speculation and labeling. From both sides of the issue.

My hope is the same as what the officer hopes for — open conversation, honest dialogue, without name calling. For justice on all sides.

Exactly the reason why I write.

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Posted in Community Service, Culture, Faith, Gratitude, Justice, Life, Live the Questions, Outreach, Refugees, Writing.

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103 Responses

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  1. Brad says

    Dustin quite frankly if your post wasn’t so angering I would laugh at your ignorant comments.
    I am currently unemployed and have been for almost 2 years because of people like you and President Obama. I am currently about as poor as I can get.
    But the difference between me and you and the other whiners out there is I am going to school. I lost my job due to a stupid decision on my previous managers part not due to anything I did. I could sit around and mope and be bitter and send threatening letters and go out on the street corner and use and sell crack. However, I have my pride, my brain and a strong will. I am like those millions who came to America with nothing and fought their way to a destiny they could look back and be proud of.
    Castigation of the poor indeed.
    How long did it take you to look that word up in the dictionary any way?

  2. Brad says

    Dustin, Castigate the poor classes?

    Ooooooh please.
    You do realize that 99% of the time that the Police get into a row with people is because they were either doing something illegal or they were intending to do something illegal and just got caught before they had a chance to.
    You don’t here the white trash in SouthEast Portland going on and on about how bad the Potland pOlice are.
    They get busted and do their time. Please let’s get serious here folks and lose the liberal whitewashed college level pscychology BS Dustin.
    The difference between the 99.999% of the police in Portland Oregon is so far and removed from the Police in late 19th Century and early 20th Century South it’s pathetic and so is your attempt at focusing the blame on the Police boogeyman.
    You know I grew up watching Eldredge Cleaver talking on the street corners in Oakland California. They used the same rhetoric for political purposes, but at least the Black Panthers were honest enough to admit it was all politics.
    And your sorry stale trite expressions about the rich setting up property lines and keeping the poor out is as stale as when I heard it in the 60’s in Berkely.
    I can guarantee you that if i had the unfortunate displeasure of knowing you in person and walked up to you on a street corner and smashed your nose in and stole your car you would be the very first running to the local phone to call the police and tell them your woes.
    I never would because you are quite frankly beneath me and not worth my time as it’s not worth my time to squish a bug. You agnostic socialists are all the same. You push out God, you push the line of reason with your communistic rhetoric, and you try to make hard working honest decent citizens feel guilty for having something that those who chose to cheat and steal and be lazy don’t have when if they were hard working productive members of society instead of trying to blame everyone for what they don’t have they would have it too.

  3. Brad says

    Bison, I would agree that in an Utopian society and setting it would be nice that we didn’t need police. However since the garden of Eden when Adam chose to eath the forbidden fruit and violate God’s perfect community and communion, there has been a need for Police, and for armies.
    We can wish for peace and fair tales and harmony all we want, problem is those people in North Portland who cry wolf at the face of Portland Police are 90% of the time the first to instigate issues with the police. If they weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time they wouldn’t be in the mess they were in.
    I took a psychology class from a wonderful black woman a few years ago and she was writing her phd doctorate on the problem with black people is that they don’t OWN their own mistakes and problems. To anyone who thinks the majority of the problems the blacks in North Portland face are totally because of Police officers, you are sadly mistaken.
    They whined and screamed when one of their own was the chief of Portland’s police.
    I also find it extremely hilarious that this ignorant manager from this little hole in the wall is neither homeless nor black and I would venture to guess that none of the patrons of that locale are either.

  4. Brad says

    I agree with you whole heartedly.
    However I am a little more militant I guess than you. I am calling for a boycott of this restaraunt.
    It is an obvious sign of one of many things which have gone terribly wrong in our society.

    Are there bad police officers across the globe? Yes, but I can guarantee that there are far more who are kind and caring and gentle who are just like the one featured in your blog and on Channel 8 news.

  5. Thomas Wier says

    Hi Cornelia:

    Thank you for bringing this matter to everyone’s attention. I am like many who finds it odd that this so-called “anarchist hot-spot” can be so self-righteous on it’s “lawless” principles, and yet remains a functioning member of the capitalist establishment.

    Even more telling is how they were willing to, for all intents and purposes, bilk this officer out of his money and THEN kick him out. Odd, isn’t it, that they would stand up for their “beliefs” only AFTER taking his cash?

    I’m all for the rights of a property owner to assert your refusal of service, but to do so to a PAYING customer, well…that’s not only lacking in class, it is also illegal. Kudos to the officer for being as gracious as he was and for not making a big stink out of it…because he was certainly within his legal rights after paying for the coffee to do just that.

  6. Concernedcitizen says


    I believe that your argument is valid. However, I also believe that due to not only present but also historical circumstances, the R&B Cafe was in the right to ask the officer to leave. If you weren’t aware, discrimination has been the mantra of Portland Police for decades. Even this past month, a man died because Portland Police pulled him over for “kind of looking like a gangster.” This is racial profiling, which is racism which is discrimination. An organization such as R&B is focused exclusively on civilian action towards social justice on essentially a nonviolent basis, unlike the Police. I have witnessed Police brutality and believe me, it is more horrific than witnessing a Police being asked to leave a cafe. Social justice is something that is made impossible when a country with a history that is rich in racism allows racial profiling in order to help solve crimes. This police officer is a human being, as are all police. However, this particular human being carries a gun legally into places such as cafes. This automatically puts a threat into any situation. We should rely on our neighbors and communities for protection, not the police. Restaurants legally have the right to not serve whoever they please.

  7. Debrah Cohen says

    Cornelia, I appreciate you trying to help the officers but at the same time I am a Mother who was once married to an abusive, drug using, secret-life living police officer. If I told you the unimaginable things I witnessed him and his fellow officers do in basements and house parties over the years it would make you have not talked to that officer in the first place. Police officers as I’ve learned are actually complete dirt bags and racist devil-worshipping monsters. Trust me, the owner of the Red + Black did the right thing by kicking that officer out!

  8. Steve Power says

    Rule of law is what separates peaceful productive societies from anarchy that encourages only the Machiavellian strong to survive and prosper. Our government and local law enforcement serve and protect all citizens who are willing to conform to the rule of law. They even protect those who don’t, as was demonstrated by Officer Crooker patronizing this cafe. The disrespect of this Police Officer and former Marine is a small attack on our American way of life.

  9. Amber says

    I wonder, now that the owner is getting threats because of his words, if he’s considered what he is supposed to do to make it stop? He obviously won’t call the police – right? :-)

    Thank you for posting this, and for standing against discrimination.

  10. Gracie says

    Thank you Ms. Seigneur!

  11. Rob says

    Thanks for these fascinating posts. There are good people and bad people, friendly cops and unfriendly cops, respectful vegans and disrespectful vegans. You nailed it when you described this as a discrimination issue: discrimination based on career. The cafe owner may have had some bad experiences previously with unfriendly cops, and perhaps his patrons have too, and this led to his discriminatory behavior. That by no means excuses it though. As a vegan myself I now wonder how much of a blow this cafe owner’s action has dealt the vegan community. Are vegans now stereotyped as cop-haters? I wonder if the cafe owner is forgetting that in many jurisdictions cops are the people we call to enforce animal cruelty laws, environmental mismanagement laws, health- and food-related laws, and many others of importance to vegans. I noticed one comment mentioning that the presence of a gun may have worried the cafe owner, and I understand that sentiment entirely – but that did not appear to be the reason the officer was asked to leave. Veganism is meant to be the path of compassion; what a shame that compassion was not demonstrated here.

  12. Michelle says

    I know I will make sure to never knowingly spend my money in an establishment with this sort of attitude toward law enforcement.

    As many have said, what you see/hear in the media about law enforcement is NOT the whole picture, it is in part, sensationalized. All police officers are not bad people, just as all vegans are not judgmental bigots.

  13. Paul says

    Cornelia…as a retired LEO from Florida, thanks for the column. You mentioned that you were surprised by the amount of support the police there enjoy. I think you will find that it is part of the “silent majority” phenomenon, most folks go about their daily lives, quietly appreciative, while only those with a bone to pick speak out about the police, or indeed most other issues.

  14. Danial says

    Semper Fidelis Officer Jim Crooker! Ha, you can imagine my surprise when I saw your face on television after almost 11 years you fellow Devil Dog! Were you at least able to get your cup of coffee before they kicked you out? Don’t feel bad, this Marine is banned from the Hometown Buffet in Medford. Bet you’ve never known anybody banned by Hometown Buffet before! Take care old friend!

  15. Bison says

    I obviously have a very different perspective than many that read this. I’m interested in dialoguing with anyone interested in friendly conversation.

  16. Athonwy says

    I’ll repeat what I said on Indymedia here: It’s pretty difficult to feel safe when only one person in the room has a gun.

    If I walked into R&B wearing a gun they would ask me to leave also, and I’ve had more firearms training then most police officers.

  17. Bison says

    This might also shed light more light on the subject.

  18. Bison says

    This is the alternative to policing 99% of the people at the red and black support:

    A healthy community doesn’t need police. We just need a solid relationship with those we live with.

  19. ryokan says

    Both of your posts have been consistent in expressing the discrimination a person was exposed to by a business that claims on their website:

    “We strive to provide a community space that is safe and welcoming to all. We hope this space is used for local voices to bring awareness and education on the issues facing us today.” ( )

    Your blog and the police officer live their mission statement of the cafe wereas they only claim it. You have done well at being fair and balance though out the situation. Hopefully it is a learning experience for everyone. It has been for me.

  20. Al says

    I hope this incdent hits the Cafe right where they live….squarely in the bottom line. Kudos to Crooker for being an Officer *and* a gentleman.

  21. Dave says

    It’s sad to me that as a society we still have a tough time learning to get along. We discriminate against people because of who they are, what they do, or a myriad of other equally unimportant issues. We are human beings – individuals – and regardless of what race, profession, sexual preference or any other discriminating factor used to segregate one person from another – we are still just individuals.

    I’ve been lucky enough to be in law enforcement for twenty years and have worked with some incredible people. While there are a select few in my profession who may not honor the responsibility and trust given them by the community, more often than not our actions are misrepresented or misunderstood. We proudly stand tall in the night and willingly go into places that others are afraid to go. Most don’t ask for (or want) recognition. We are often vilified by the people we respond to help – and again, we don’t take it personally. I’m proud of the men and women who choose this noble profession, and I’m especially impressed by Officer Crooker’s responses, professionalism, and understanding in face of the treatment he received. People like Officer Crooker are the rule – not the exception – but because they do their jobs day in and day out without asking for recognition (and because it doesn’t make as good of news) there are not as many good stories as bad ones.

    Thank you for writing this story – thanks for sharing it. And for what it’s worth, like Officer Crooker, I defend the store owner’s right to say what he has said, to feel the way he does, and while it saddens me that he is repeating the same type of behavior he is upset with law enforcement for… he has every right in our country to say it.

    Stay safe!

  22. Whitey No Po says

    Congrats for stumbling upon a divisive issue at an anarchist cafe. To the folks at Red and Black: If you need to grind your ax – go to the gulf and beat up BP and help with the clean up. Really.

  23. Sylvia P. says

    thank you so very much. Firstly – for taking time out of your day to talk to Officer Crooker and to thank him for doing what he does. And secondly – for being a fair-minded, articulate woman who has the guts to see wrong when it is done to someone. Not just to someone who you sympathize with, as seems to me to be the case with the owner and patrons of this bigoted establishment. Rights for me, but not for thee. As someone already pointed out – Officer Crooker’s money was good enough to take. That speaks volumes to me.
    I also am a Police Officer and I am saddened to find out what happened to Officer Crooker. I commend him for his gracious reaction to the incident, exhibiting more class in one little finger than Mr Langley could ever muster. If he chooses to call his friends to the rescue in an emergency rather than the police I have no problem with that at all. I’ll be having a coffee somewhere else instead of having to rush to THAT call.

    Cornelia, please keep up your good work. I enjoyed getting to know your blog (although I wish the circumstances were different) and thank you again.

    Mr Langley, I will dissuade anyone I know from visiting your cafe. I don’t have time for bigots like you.

  24. Eric says

    Perhaps establishments that welcome the business of peace officers should hang a “Law Enforcement welcome” sign in their window; we wouldn’t want officers taking their money somewhere it isn’t welcome. Hopefully this would make it apparent just how much of a minority places like this really are.

    Dustin- I find it hard to believe that anyone that visits this particular cafe is anywhere near “Poverty”, so I don’t really see how your argument is relevant.

  25. Em says

    Albert, you are basing your assumptions on the small number of reported negative incidents with police that make the news as opposed to the much great number of interactions with police that are positive, life-saving and helpful. All jobs have bad apples. Every color, race and gender of people has bad apples. That’s life. But not allowing a police officer in your business is disrespectful.

    And in general, there were three people in the place at the time, including Cornelia who thank goodness documented this. How did those two other people secreting send their disapproval to the owner?

    I’m not a vegan, I’m a most of the time vegetarian with a number of friends who have made a more conscious choice of what to eat as well as friends who enjoy vegan food as choices when eating out for religious reasons. But this won’t be a place we’d ever visit.

    “Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.” -John Cogley

    This reminds me of the scene in the Big Chill when they are discussing cops.

  26. Doug Stanley says

    The cafe owner is a typical Portland anarchist jerk. The anarchist symbol is proudly displayed on his web site. He certainly has the right to feel and do what he wishes but I also hope he obeys all laws or he may find himself “harassed” by the big mean police officers with the big guns. He also has opened himself up to a law suit for refusing service to a person simply because of his profession. I hope someone sues him and that any decent citizen boycotts the place. He and his “clients” deserve each other.

  27. tm says

    i am extremely disappointed in some of the comments that were listed on your part one blog of this story. i didn’t realize some people were so ignorant. i have some negative thoughts/opinions about some police officers who have been in the news, but that doesn’t mean i have something against ALL police officers. i think the officer that went to the coffee shop sounds like a good man and he is right – people need to be better educated. i am all about supporting local places, but thanks to you i know not to give my service to this cafe. thanks for sharing.

  28. Lisa says

    I have read the story and it did shock me, I know many have a false idea and anger toward the police. I have worked with the police and gone on ride alongs and seeing how they are. They are just like all of us, I have seen many, many go out of their way to talk to people and make sure they are comfortable. It offends me that people still think it is acceptable to be discriminatory. I also think it is my right to not visit or support an establishment that thinks that behavior is ok. I did post the article on my face book and encourage my friends and community leaders to think about what transpired. I hope that this will not happen again. We have the right to our own opinion but to humiliate some one is totally outragous. I am thankful for the article so that as a community we can think and be reminded of how some of the public has no respect for others. Wayne was right.. he took the money,,. he didnt refuse service, he refused to be a human being..

    Lisa Campos
    Portland Guardian Angels

  29. Tina says

    It is weird that you would feel less safe with a police officer in your cafe, than if he was not there. Couldn’t he have told the officer “I serve a lot of unusual characters, I do not want any problems here otherwise I will have to ask you to leave.”

    I really can’ t blame the cafe owner for feeling uneasy around the officer. But maybe that is because he did not try to get to know him or talk with him. This could have been a good chance for the owner to ask questions about the recent happenings in Portland and how the officer felt about the issues surrounding the Portland Police.

  30. Tobias says

    Sorry for the double-post, but…

    @Dustin: Your assessment is unbalanced. You say that police “target those in poverty”. The unfortunate truth here is that those in poverty exist in a world of drugs, prostitution and other illegal activities. It’s sad, but true that people who cannot afford to buy what they need to live will often steal it. Those who do (like anyone else) are subject to the law. It’s an unfortunate truth, and hardly “fair” in the cosmic sense, but it is simple unadulterated fact. Similarly, many people in poverty turn to drugs or prostitution–some as a means of making money to survive, some as an escape. Whatever the reason, this is still very illegal. Again, in the scheme of things it’s not fair that they should be in that situation but the plain fact here is thus: people in poverty commit more crimes (and are caught committing a greater percentage of their crimes) than people who are not in poverty. People who aren’t in poverty get caught less often because they can take smaller risks or use resources to hide illegal activity. Those in poverty cant. It boils down to:

    People in poverty commit more crimes and get caught at it more than people not in poverty.

  31. Tobias says

    @Albert: “If you follow the news there seem to be a fair number of bad ones.” This is true, if you follow the news. But what you don’t see on the news (as often) are the many more officers there are out there doing good things. The number of good officers that we don’t hear about dwarfs the number of “bad officers”, some of which aren’t even bad at all but (wait for it) are just doing their job. I know that line is used a lot and in some cases is stretched over the truth to hide it. In some cases though it’s the truth: police officers, in the face of circumstances, sometimes have to resort to an unfortunate means to resolve a situation: violence.

    People need to realize something: what you see in the media, on the news, in the papers, is not unbiased and is hardly ever fair or accurate. This is for two reasons: the first is that the people reporting the news have opinions of their own that almost always seep into their reporting. See a story about how a cop shot someone and was in the wrong, but the facts don’t prove it? I suspect if you looked deeper the writer of that story might have an anti-cop streak. The other reason is that no matter how upstanding a news group is, the reason they are doing what they do boils down to one simple thing: money. The recent focus on “bad cops” is a marketing tactic. Stories like this play on the emotions of viewers, and more people watch or read these stories, and so the news group makes more money. Would they make nearly as much money focusing on stories like “local police buy kids new bikes”? No way. People don’t want to read news about good things, plain and simple. People like to gripe about things. They usually don’t care what. The news focuses on “bad” things instead of “good” things because more people will watch or read news that gives them something to gripe about.

    That was longer-winded than I had intended.

  32. Emily says

    Sometimes it is Police officers who get shot at in coffee shops, not the other way around. This recently happened at the Forza coffee shop in Tacoma, Washington, where I go to school. Four officers were killed while wearing their uniforms in a coffee shop. I am sad for the owners of the Red and Black; they are clearly ignorant and have not bothered to look at the other side of this issue. Police officers put their lives on the line every day. It makes me sick when they receive so little thanks for all they do for everyone in the community.

  33. Kathy H says

    This whole thing is amazing to me, but then on the other hand it isn’t. As this is an all to common reaction in my husband’s line of work as well.
    He is a truck driver, and will get strange looks from people when he exits or enters his semi. I personally have seen it as I go out often with him in the truck. People see a job and not the people behind the job. Which is so sad.
    I have a lot of respect and honor towards Police Officers, as they place themselves in harms way often. And get negative reactions more then I would care to recall. My hats off to them keep up the good work.
    And for everyone else, don’t assume a stereo type when you see someone working a certain job. As police officers are not all out to gun you down and ask questions later. Nor are truck drivers like Smokey and the Bandit. There isn’t anything good done out of judging like this cafe did. And I can tell you that I tweeted this article. And the Cafe will not be getting our hard earned money anytime soon.

  34. Albert says

    If I had a cafe I wouldn’t let anyone with a gun come through the door whether they had a license or a badge to carry it. I can understand the Portland community being distrustful of the police at this time after reading the news about so many shootings and that terrible case of the 14 year old girl being tasered in the Midwest. This officer sounds like one of the good ones but if you follow the news there seem to be a fair number of bad ones. Obviously if people feel so strongly about this issue there are real reasons behind each side’s feelings.

  35. Natalie says


    Thanks for providing your insights and account of the event. Although I have a few personal disagreements in terms of police officers and their track record, I don’t think this is at all the appropriate place to discuss it. To me, your strongest point was in regards to the respect that is due to all human beings. A police officer is looked down on by some in the same way that others look down on a homeless person or sex worker. In the same way, if such a person is causing no trouble and simply trying to buy a cup of coffee and chat with someone, I see no reason why they should be thrown out of the establishment. At the end of the day, it’s the cafe owner’s decision– that comes with the hassle of running a business, and I think it’s fair to give him that benefit– but I cannot say that I personally agree with the choice. Thanks again for sharing and sparking the dialogue, whether that was intentional or not.

  36. Madrugada Mistral says

    Thanks for publicizing this incident.

  37. Virginia. T.Kindrick says

    I am so sick to my stomach hearing this on tv. wow, I would never go to that cafe and hopefully no one will walk in and rob them during lunch because who are they going to call, that is like back in the days of segretation, what else will they not allow in there cafe. I so tired of living in Portland where they say keep Portland, wierd, to me that is insanity, and treating someone who trying to protect are streets this is a terrible crime.

  38. Luis Sanchez says

    Dear C. Seigneur,

    Does the Jesus you worship teach Grace, love, mercy, forgiveness?

    I appreciate and am grateful for those who lay their lives for me. I would lay my life for you but I will not kill for you.

    Yes, this man is a cop. The “bad guy” is coffee shop owner. I find it hard to find where you write about this experience in love.

  39. belgian says

    @Marc – The Red & Black Cafe has *nothing* to do with the ‘Keep Portland Weird’ rubric. Absolutely nothing. One is an anarchist cafe, and the other is an Austin Texas marketing term coopted by a Portland Oregon record store. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

  40. belgian says

    @Marc – The Red & Black Cafe has *nothing* to do with the ‘Keep Portland Weird’ rubric. Absolutely nothing. One is an anarchist cafe, and the other is a Austin Texas marketing term coopted by a Portland Oregon record store. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

  41. Adam says

    This, like most of what’s on your website, isn’t news. You’re just inciting people to a culture war, and of course they’re going to be what you call passionate about it. An institution that doesn’t support the Police is probably not going to want an armed and, from what our interpretation of the police SHOULD be from the news, potentially violent human being hanging around. After all, if we’re going to be scared of gang members and N.R.A. fanatics, Portland Police are at the very least incompetent. If you’re police force beats a schizophrenic homeless man to death and then stand over his dying body drinking Starbucks coffee, there’s a problem. And if you’re a police officer and you don’t condone that kind of malevolence, than you should probably pick another institution if you’re genuinely looking to serve the public.

  42. Dustin says

    “He is there to do his job.”

    Which is precisely what makes people uncomfortable. When your job has historically (and presently and by all indications continuing) been to protect the wealthier classes by defending an arbitrary property declaration, while simultaneously creating a line of violent threat (the police) to castigate the poorer classes (common how many of the police murders in this city have been of the wealthy? Or even middle class? Zero) you are likely to make people uncomfortable in the job you do.

    How many times does the “just doing my job” or “just following orders” line have to be demonstrated to be the refuge of predators before people get it through their heads that just because some of you feel warm and cozy when agents of institutional violence are around doesn’t mean that the feeling is universal. There is another side of the coin, it’s called poverty, see how long your respect for the police remains when you drop a few tax brackets and find your self struggling to live. Who will be coming to kick you out of your home and into the street? Certainly isn’t the Red and Black cafe owners.

  43. Marc says

    Thank you for sharing your story. The cafe represents the “keep portland weird” liberal attitude that makes this city a mockery around the country. It’s not the same city I grew up in. God forbid they never need the police. I applaud the cop for walking out with no incident. I don’t think I could have done that. I’m so fed up with these police bashers. I’ll stop now before I say something about this “dive of a cafe”, that I might later regret.

  44. christina says

    We lived in NW Portland for 5 years. We had to call the police to deal with drunks urinating and defecating on our porch, druggies dealing on the corner, hookers doing their tricks in the yard and being robbed. The police were professional, empathetic and when it came to catching the woman who robbed us and getting most of our things back, heroes. We finally left Portland all together because it has become an unsafe place to live. People really have no idea what it’s like to be a police officer. We lived off 21st and Glisan not downtown. This is supposed to be a nice neighborhood but the homelessness and drug problems are out of control. Who has to deal with this mess daily, the police do. Without them this city and the country would be hell to live in.

  45. nenika Jones says

    I am grateful that you were there to witness that event. People generally are not aware of constant negative incidents police officers endure. It can be discouraging to attempt to help an unappreciative public, but continue to face each day with enthusiasm. Policing is a difficult job. Police officers need encouragement and sometimes it does not come with every small heroic event. I saw an officer wrestle a teenage girl down. She had attacked a younger boy with a stick. The boy was screaming help and the officer happened to be close by. The officer told the girl to stop and when she did not, he grabbed her and put her down on the ground. She was hitting him and spitting at him, but he managed to handcuff her with out hurting her. They questioned her and the boy and took her away. Someone had the audacity to tell the officer he should let her go because she was a victim too! Huh? The boy had cuts and bruises and so did the officer! But he was just doing his job, you know… just another day…

  46. anon says

    Kudo’s to the cop for showing that not all cops are a-holes. He left without incident.

  47. Kim says

    I would like to thank you for speaking up for the police. So often people bash the police without knowing the entire story. I would be the first to admit that not all of our officers are perfect I think they would say that too. I don’t know what profession can boast that everyone in it does a perfect job 100% of the time. But I do know that we have good officers and that the public sees and hears such a small percentage of the stories. I would like to share a story with you. I speak of this first hand because I was one of the 911 dispatchers involved. Several years ago on Christmas Eve (when most people are home with their families)an officer came upon two children watching an abandoned bicycle in front of a Fred Meyers. When the officer asked them what they were doing the little boy asked him how long the bike would have to be left there before they might be able to claim it. The officer told him that he was sorry but that wasn’t the way it worked. The boy sadly said he really wanted his little sister to be able to have a bicycle for Christmas. The officer heart broken by this shared it with some of us at dispatch. Between several officers and dispatchers we were able to come up with enough of our own money to buy both of the children bicycles and helmets unfortunately most of the stores were either closing or already closed. We called around and begged a store to stay open until our officer could get there to get the bicycles and helmets and they agreed!! I would like to think that night made a difference in the hearts of those children. Hating will never fix anything compassion and love is the key. Thank you again I wish that more people out there were like you. God bless.

  48. Les says

    I agree; thank you for your insights.

    Hopefully this will make people think about whether they truly believe in openness and inclusion–and discrimination at the same time.

  49. Wayne says

    I find it interesting that the Cafe’ owner had no qualms about taking the officer’s money, in exchange for a cup of coffee. I find it interesting that the Cafe’ owner would rather choose retaliation and retribution to settle a robbery or burglary case (by calling his friends), instead of utilizing the practices set forth in our Constitution that enable “all men are created equal” (in the eyes of the law). I believe the perception of safety is born by those who frequent the Cafe, and the owner who compounded the misperception by blaming the officer and asking him to leave.

    Having been in law enforcement for over 20 years, I can’t tell you the number of times that I have endured personal attacks because of the badge I wear. Nearly always, I let it roll off of me. There are times when it hits me, but I do my best to deflect the negativity. I also recognize that there are those in society who will continue to wield the torch of discrimination because to extinguish it would leave the person without purpose. Hate, venom, anger and retaliation are strong poisons to the soul of the man or woman who wields them.

    When I took my oath on 10-2-89, I swore to protect and uphold the constitution, to stand up for those who are unable to, and to be that first line of defense between the wolves and the sheep who would be their food without me. I still carry my sword of justice – and trust me, I have deep respect for the edge of the sword that faces me; I know if I screw up, I will be cut twice as deep as a citizen doing the same thing.

    Best wishes – and thank you for posting your story.

  50. jeana says

    thank you for writing, and sharing your experience. By reading your blog today, i have learned something about the city that i work in… it has given me a thought to ponder for the day: what if i, a payroll accountant, was asked to leave an establishment just because of my profession?

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Portland Police Provocation at Anarchist Coffee Shop | Disinformation linked to this post on December 16, 2010

    […] a police officer was asked to leave by a co-owner. A local blogger was outraged (enough so to revisit the subject), the insipid Portland hipster yuppie press picks it up and the national media has a field day […]

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