If Someone's In Trouble, Don't Call the Police

by Will Grigg
May. 28, 2014

Alarmed that a customer appeared to be suffering from a drug overdose, Portland restaurant owner John Langley called 9-11 to request medical help – and to insist that the police stay away.

“We don’t allow police in here so we can totally accommodate the fire department and other emergency personnel,” Langley explained over the phone. When the dispatcher said that he was “required to send everybody,” Langley replied, that “if the police try and come in here there’s going to be another problem.”

After discussing the situation with the police, paramedics responded to the call. After arriving at the Red & Black Café, they rendered aid to a customer who was experiencing a heroin overdose. He was taken to the hospital for treatment, and then released without being arrested or charged.

Langley describes himself as an anarchist and an advocate for the homeless. Whatever else can be said about his ideology, he understands the concept of property rights and is well-informed about the potential risks to innocent people when police are summoned to deal with emergencies. Yes, police are trained to render emergency aid, and many do so when necessary. Their chief function, however, is to engage in violence on behalf of the state, which isn’t helpful to people facing a medical emergency.

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