Monday, June 7, 2010

No Cops Allowed

First, let me say how nice it was to just take a break from blogging. I started school in April, taking online classes for a Masters degree, and working full time at my 9-5 M-F job, and a weekend job. I've been busy! Needed a break from the bloggin'...just didn't have the energy to write.

This article caught my eye:
In mid-May, Portland police Officer James Crooker went to Southeast
Portland on a patrol call. With a few minutes to spare, he decided to get a
coffee. So, he popped into the Red & Black cafe on Southeast 12th Avenue near Oak
Street, bought a coffee and was heading out when a customer approached him,
saying she appreciates the hard job that police officers do every day in
Portland. One of the co-owners of the cafe, John Langley, has another
point of view. While the officer and customer were chatting, he walked up and
asked Crooker to leave, saying he felt uncomfortable having a uniformed officer
in the vegan cafe. The incident, which was brief, speaks volumes about the
tensions between Portland police and some members of the community who are more worried about police shootings than protection. Crooker said he was surprised to be shown the door but left immediately. He said this marked a first during his nine-year in law enforcement, two in Portland and seven in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. "The places that I've been kicked out of before have been places like the methadone clinic," he said. "I've never been kicked out of a regular cafe." But the 36-year-old
officer, who was born and raised in Portland, said it's all part of working this
city's streets in a uniform. "We have a unique relationship with the community,"
he said. "You're there to protect them but on the other hand they don't know
what that involves. Being gracious is part of it." A former Marine who served in
Iraq, Crooker didn't take the incident to heart. "It was not personal," he said.
"He was being hostile to my uniform," he said. Langley, who did not raise his
voice during the encounter, agreed. "It's not about the police," Langley said.
"It's about what the police represent to many people who frequent the cafe. The
cafe draws vegans -- of course -- along with homeless people and animal-rights
and environmental activists who Langley said have been targets of police abuse
and harassment. But the cafe also draws customers like Cornelia Seigneur,
who blogged about the incident on her website. Seigneur, a freelancer for The Oregonian who
was enjoying lunch with her daughter on May 18 when Crooker came in, was the one
who approached him. "There have been some unfortunate situations recently,"
Seigneur said. "But overall the police are out there day in and day out
protecting us." She said she struck up a conversation with Crooker to show her
support for police, who she said saved the life of a friend after he was shot by
gang members. When Langley asked Crooker to leave, she was startled. "It was
shocking," Seigneur said. "Everyone deserves to have a coffee, and he was served
a coffee. It was humiliating." She said there were only about three other people
in the cafe and that no else seemed to notice the officer. But the incident has
fired a reaction, with dozens of comments pouring into Seigneur's website. It's
been so overwhelming that she took the blog post down but put it back up
Thursday afternoon. The cafe, too, has received a deluge of calls, with about
half supporting the cafe and the rest expressing anger. "We've received
threats," Langley said. "People have threatened to attack us and break our
windows." Still, he has no regrets. "I never expected a police officer to come
into the space," he said. "If it happened again, I wouldn't serve him."

The customer that was thanking the Police Officer has a blog, and has started a movement not to boycott the place that didn't serve the officer, but to highlight places that do.
Her original blog post
Her facebook campaign

Police Officers put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities. We hear about the mistakes and the bad apples first and foremost. The more common stories of police officers helping people-stopping to help you change a flat, educating children on drug abuse, etc. are left out of the news. And that is sad, and only perpetuates the negative, false thinking that this cafe owner exhibited.

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