A man is considering legal action after he says a business owner and police wrongly told him to leave a Kirkland yogurt shop.
Byron Ragland, a court-appointed social worker who is black, was supervising a visit between a mother and child on November 7 at Menchie’s in Totem Lake.
Store owner Ramon Cruz called 911 after his staff expressed concerns about Ragland’s presence.
"My staff just called me, and I'm looking at the camera. There is this one guy who has been sitting at the corner, hasn't bought anything, has been sitting there for over 30 minutes. They are kind of scared because he looks suspicious,” Cruz said to 911.
The dispatcher asked several questions, including the man's race.
"He is African-American from what I can see from the camera," Cruz answered.
Responding officers questioned Ragland, who says he left the store when asked.
“I haven't slept through the night since this incident,” Ragland said to a group of reporters and civil rights advocates during a demonstration in front of the store on Tuesday.
Ragland had harsh words for Cruz and said people should boycott his business.
“A lot of people are going to say the social media backlash that Ramon Cruz got this week is punishment enough. They say he should be allowed to go on with his life. You know what I say? I say you cannot allow white supremacy to scurry away in the corner and lick its wounds and regroup. You gotta keep your foot on white supremacy's neck, you gotta grind your boot into white supremacy's throat until you hear it stop breathing, and when it's looking up to you begging for mercy, you show it none, because in the last 400 years it hasn't shown you any,” Ragland said.
Ragland's attorney, James Bible, says they are considering legal action against Cruz and the Kirkland Police Department.
“We know what's happened violates civility in society, and I do believe it violates the laws against discrimination that are present in the State of Washington and the United States of America,” Bible said.
Cruz declined to talk on camera, but apologized in a statement. He said he would conduct training for his staff “so that we can make sure that this will not happen again.”
The City of Kirkland and police department also apologized and said they would evaluate their policies and practices, and learn from their mistakes.
During Tuesday night's city council meeting, City Manager Kurt Triplett said the city is already making changes.
"I directed human resources to develop a training plan so that every employee of the city of Kirkland receives training in implicit bias in the year 2019," Triplett said.
He added that the police department has already started an internal review of how it handles unwanted person and trespass calls. Triplett added that the Executive Director of NORCOM, the agency that handles emergency calls, has been asked to conduct a formal review of the November 7 911 call in an effort to evaluate protocols for the future.
The city wants dispatchers and business owners to be included in the discussion as policies and practices are examined.