Yogurt shop owner boots Black social worker and the cops issue weak mea culpa
As we keep attempting #livingwhileblack, a Black man assigned to supervise a court ordered visitation was apparently interrupted from doing his job
Seattle-area police are now apologizing for an incident that led to officers helping the owner of a frozen yogurt shop expel an African-American man from the business, simply because employees said they felt uncomfortable.
According to the Seattle Times, on Monday the Kirkland Police Department issued an apology for taking part in what amounts to racial profiling by a local business.
On Nov. 7, the owner of a Menchie’s frozen yogurt franchise in Kirkland called 911 because a Black man — now identified as Byron Ragland — was in the shop supervising a court-sanctioned outing between a mother and her son. Ragland works as a court-appointed special advocate and visitation supervisor.
When the responding officers arrived, despite there being no evidence that the 31-year-old was being unlawful or disruptive, they asked for his personal information and told him that the owner wanted him to vacate the premises.
Ragland put up no fight and left without incident. But public outrage over how things were handled prompted the Kirkland police to announce that there would be an internal investigation conducted to determine if “proper protocol” had been followed that day.
On Monday, the city said it had reached “preliminary findings” and determined that an apology to Ragland and the people of Kirkland was justified.
“Our initial assessment showed that the interaction that occurred did not meet the expectations of our community or the high standards we set for ourselves,” Kirkland Police Chief Cherie Harris and City Manager Kurt Triplett said in a joint statement. “As a result, Mr. Ragland and the other individuals with him were left feeling unwelcome in Kirkland. No one regrets this more than the men and women of the Kirkland Police Department. We are truly sorry.”
Despite this admission, the department has refrained from stating if any policies or laws were violated by the officers’ behavior, with a spokesperson saying the investigation was not complete.
“What didn’t meet our standards is that at the end of the interaction Mr. Ragland leaves feeling unwelcome in Kirkland and we know overall the picture of that interaction does not meet the standards of what our community expects of us,” Kirkland police spokeswoman Kellie Stickney said.
“We’re apologizing for how our Police Department handled the events.”