The city also is examining its policies and practices related to "unwanted person" and "trespass" dispatch calls, according to the city manager and police chief.
All city of Kirkland employees will undergo implicit bias training in response to an incident earlier this month in which Kirkland police asked a black man to leave a frozen yogurt shop because employees said he made them feel uncomfortable.
Byron Ragland, 31, was at Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt on Nov. 7 to supervise a court-sanctioned outing between a mother and her son, The Seattle Times reported in a column last week. Ragland works as a court-appointed special advocate and visitation supervisor.
Menchie’s employees called the owner, saying the man had not ordered anything and made them feel uncomfortable, according to a police report. The owner, Ramon Cruz, then called a 911 operator, who told Cruz officers could come “tell him to move along,” according to the audio of the call.
Two officers responded and told Ragland the owner wanted him to leave.
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Ragland told officers the request to leave was “not necessary,” but he left the store without incident or complaining.
Outrage over the incident prompted the Kirkland police to announce an internal investigation into the incident to determine if “proper protocol” had been followed. On Monday, the city announced it had reached “preliminary findings” in the investigation and issued an apology to Ragland and the people of Kirkland.
“The incident at Menchie’s has caused us to ask ourselves many difficult questions about race and inclusion,” Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett and police Chief Cherie Harris said Wednesday in a prepared joint statement. “The City of Kirkland is reflecting on what we can do as an organization and as a community to further the dialogue. How do we balance our support of our police department, and honor the dedication, hard work and sacrifice made every day by our Kirkland police officers, and still acknowledge that we can do even better to serve all members of our community?”
The city will provide all employees with implicit bias training, Triplett and Harris said. Kirkland City Council members have asked to be included in the training, according to the statement.
Triplett and Harris added that the city is examining its policies and practices related to “unwanted person” and “trespass” dispatch calls. Kirkland police officers filed an “unwanted subject” report after the incident. The city is also reviewing the original 911 call.
A call to the city manager’s office for more details on the employee training was not immediately returned. A call to Ragland also was not returned.
Ragland, a University of Washington, Tacoma student, called for a boycott of the yogurt shop during a protest outside the store Tuesday, the same day Menchie’s said employees were undergoing their own training.
“That’s how you punish white supremacy and anti-black behavior,” he said. “You hit it hard, and you hit it fast right in its pockets.”