FRIENDSWOOD, Texas - Friendswood Police say they’re investigating a local establishment for over-serving alcohol, but the owners of the establishment say what’s happening is police harassment, and they believe cell phone video of their arrests backs up their claims.
Friendswood Police say several DWIs are tied to alcohol served at Friends Pub on W Parkwood Avenue. The husband and wife who own the pub deny over-serving, and last night they hung a large sign outside the establishment reading “We refuse to shut down; pleases support your local business.” The owners told FOX 26 they believe police are trying to intimidate them into closing.
Police say they arrested Kobra Ghorbani and her husband Fred Rahdar after they refused to allow police to conduct an alcohol inspection connected to several DWI stops involving drivers who’d visited the pub.
The co-owners say that’s not the case.
“By the time I got here, the inspection was over, so I asked him to leave,” said Rahdar.
Rahdar showed FOX 26 the “citizen information card” signed and given to the bar by Officer Milling regarding a “bar check.”
While there is no time listed, the bar owners say the inspection was completed and the document was given to them before the incident captured on camera. Video shows police lingered as the co-owners asked them to leave. Police told them they were still doing an inspection.
“My wife said, ‘You guys are done with your inspection. You need to leave,’” said Rahdar. “He said, ‘If you ask that question one more time, I’ll put you under arrest.’ So my wife turned around and put her hands behind her.”
Cell phone video shows Ghorbani placing her hands behind her back and offering to be arrested.
“She’s being charged with not allowing us to do the inspection,” the officer says in the video.
In the video, police don’t say why they’re continuing to inspect after the first inspection. Video shows Rahdar following police and telling them to take him to jail too if they are taking his wife.
“I said, ‘You’re not gonna take my wife without me,’ and I put my hands behind me,” said Rahdar. “I said, ‘Take me to jail too.”’
The officer is seen on camera promptly handcuffing Rahdar behind his back and yanking his arms upwards.
“What are my charges?” Rahdar repeatedly asks on the cell phone video as he’s being escorted to the police car.
“Stop resisting,” the officer responds.
The couple spent two days in jail. Police told FOX 26 they were charged with “inspection refusal/interference.” The couple’s attorney is fighting the charges.
“Our contention is that the police duty was over with,” said attorney Mike Russo. “They conducted the TABC inspection. It was done.”
Russo told FOX 26 the pub’s co-owners have never been in trouble before, and he thinks Friendswood overreached.
Friendswood police declined FOX 26’s request for an interview but sent their write-up of this incident. Police say the pub continues to be under investigation for over-serving.
Police say additional charges are pending, as Rahdar seriously injured an officer’s hand while he was handcuffing him. Such an injury is not apparent in the cell phone video of the hand-cuffing.