Early this month, the owners of Friends Pub, a bar and restaurant in Friendswood were arrested by the city police department. They were visited by officers the night of August 3 intending to execute a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) inspection.
In a press release after the fact, the Friendswood Police Department (FPD) said, “The investigation was initiated after several documented cases of DWI arrests and a series of disturbances were attributable to patrons of the restaurant.”
Texas code mandates that alcohol-selling establishments refuse service to intoxicated individuals.
In video footage of the incident, the Friends Pub owner, Kay Ghorbani, and her husband, Fred Radhar, are handcuffed after refusing to allow officers to conduct the inspection.
The pair spent a day in jail but were released.
This has been a long-developing conflict, Radhar told The Texan. “They’ve been harassing us since we reopened in May.”
In a Facebook post, Ghorbani said that one officer had frequently camped in their lot in an unmarked vehicle monitoring the establishment.
Ghorbani said that during the arrest, she “was in severe pain due to the stage 4 cancer in my sacrum bone that affects my sciatic nerve,” due to how the officer detained her.
The FPD, according to Radhar, claimed that of the 30 Driving-While-Intoxicated (DWI) arrests that occurred in July, a third came from their establishment.
The Friends Pub is classified as a restaurant as its alcohol-food sales ratio is 50-50, meaning that the 51-percent classification the state has used to decide which businesses must close does not apply to them.
On the night of the arrest, the officers were refused entry by the couple and first handcuffed Ghorbani, as she is the listed owner.
As she was being escorted out, Radhar followed and said, “If you’re going to take my wife, arrest me, too.”
The officer then handcuffed him and can be seen jerking Radhar’s arm when he turns to ask the officer what the charges are. After asking that question a number of times, Radhar said the officer responded with, “For running your big mouth.”
In the video, the officer can be heard saying “interfering.”
Radhar added that the officer threatened to charge him with “assaulting an officer,” which is a third-degree felony.
And serving alcohol to an intoxicated individual classifies as criminal negligence and carries up to a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail.
On August 11, Friends Pub posted a video of another inspection by FPD, but Radhar said that since the story blew up the FPD has largely left the bar alone.
The FPD further stated, “All of us have the right to be safe from the extreme dangers imposed upon motorists by intoxicated drivers. And, those who profit from the selling of alcoholic beverages are expected to exert the greatest effort to prevent drunk driving.”
Despite the pending legal issues, Radhar said, “The support from the community has been amazing and our business has improved.”
The establishment, like many across the state, struggled during the lengthy government-mandated shut down earlier in the pandemic.
Ghorbani added on social media, “We’re just asking that we be recognized and treated as the business we are. We won’t let this incident change our minds about police, in fact we’ll continue to support them as we always have. However, we will refuse to shut down! We will remain open because we have the proper permitting to do so.”
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.