Police in Washington city apologize for removing black man from frozen yogurt shop

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP/KSAZ) -- Police in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland apologized this week for helping the owner of a frozen yogurt shop kick out a black man because employees said they felt uncomfortable.

The owner called officers on Nov. 7 about Byron Ragland, who works as a court-appointed special advocate and was supervising a court-sanctioned outing between a mother and her son, The Seattle Times reported.

Officers responded and told him that the owner of the Menchie's yogurt shop wanted him to leave. Ragland left without incident. According to a police report that was released by Kirkland police, the two employees, whose names were redacted, said Ragland had been in the store for a while, and did not buy anything. Both, according to the report, were thankful that Ragland was gone.

Outrage led police to announce they have launched an internal investigation, and the city apologized Monday. Officials didn't say if the officers violated any laws or policies.

"Our initial assessment showed that the interaction that boccurred 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.

The incident follows the high-profile arrests of two black men at a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia in April after a manager called police to say they refused to make a purchase or leave.

The owner of the Washington state yogurt shop, Ramon Cruz, apologized Monday. He had called police on Ragland after his employees said they were "kind of scared because he looks suspicious."

Police arrived and requested Ragland's "full information" and the names of the woman and boy he was with, according to a police report. Ragland, a nine-year Air Force veteran, told officers the request to leave was "not necessary" but left the store without complaining.

Cruz said he had previously encouraged employees to call the police if they felt uncomfortable but will now instruct them to call him. Cruz said he will then visit the store and determine whether to call police.

In a statement released on Menchie's Yogurt's unverified Twitter page on November 19, company officials said they are in the process of reaching out to Ragland with a formal apology, also issued an apology to everyone.

"We are sorry, and we will learn from this, grow from this, and become better people," read the statement. "We will work hard together to make sure that this will not happen again at any of our stores."


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