• Kirkland police say officers did not violate policy when they asked man to leave yogurt shop

    By: Siemny Kim

    Updated:

    A report by Kirkland police finds its officers did not violate department policy when they asked a black man to leave a yogurt shop back in November. They apologized soon after the incident.

    Police say the investigation demonstrated a need to review its policies and create a new protocol for handling "unwanted persons calls."

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    Surveillance video shows Byron Ragland entering Menchie's Yogurt Shop with a woman and child, whose court-ordered visit he was supervising back in November. Later, it shows him sitting alone in the corner before he was approached by Kirkland police and asked to leave.

    The Kirkland Police Department doesn't admit any wrongdoing. 

    It says its officers "did not act out of bias or violate internal protocols or policies when they asked Ragland to leave" but acknowledges "the officers missed the opportunity to mediate between the employees and Mr. Ragland by failing to determine Ragland's purpose in the store" after responding to the 911 call by the store owner. 

    KIRO 7 also spoke to the store owner, Ramon Cruz, at the time. 

    "They're kind of scared because he looks suspicious, he just keeps looking at the phone and looking at them," Cruz said. "So we didn't look at it as he was black, right, well, you looked at is as a person who could be a problem from a safety perspective."

    Many in the community denounced what happened to Ragland. The incident also sparked a protest organized by the Seattle King County NAACP. 

    The report also finds that "in instances like the one that occurred at Menchie's, officers are now asked to always make efforts to determine the facts of a situation before they initiate any actions to remove an individual from the premises, and to make efforts to overcome misunderstandings whenever possible."

    The city is also in the process of providing cultural awareness and racial bias training to all staff, including police officers.

    KIRO 7 has not been able to reach Ragland for his response to the findings.

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