‘We failed this man’: Open letter from a black cop after Menchie’s incident
In the wake of an incident where the police were called on a black man at a Menchie’s in Kirkland, a black police officer sent in his thoughts on how it should have went down.
Byron Ragland’s job is to monitor children in potentially problematic situations at home. He was doing just that, from a distance, at Menchie’s on Nov. 7. Having not ordered anything, his presence made employees nervous.
Employees called owner Ramon Cruz, who, after monitoring the situation from security cameras, called the police to have them move Ragland along. Ragland, and the parent and child he was monitoring, were then asked by police to leave.
Choosing to remain anonymous, a young black police officer sent his thoughts into the Ron and Don Show on KIRO Radio. Leading into his reading of the letter, Don O’Neill entreated his audience to listen closely.
“If you are one of my white listeners, would you listen? Would you just hold a place and some space? Just listen,” Don said.
The letter states:
This is what I feel as a young black officer in Washington state. Anger is my first expression I feel.
It’s just another day for us black men. Just recently in the last two weeks I was walking my puppy, and a white woman saw me, she clenched her things and she crossed the street. Mind you, her car was on the other side of the street. But she crossed the street, and then she waited for me to pass, and then she crossed back over.
I also had another lady run to her car, and as soon as she got there, she locked the doors. Mind you this happened right next to my house where I have my police cruiser. But it doesn’t matter, it is just another day. I have so many more stories like these, and I know what this young man went through.
But listen — this is why the NFL players are kneeling, this is why black lives matter, this is why it was created, because of things like this. The fact is it is still going on today. And it’s crazy but it shows there is still a huge racism problem, even here in Washington state.
The incident at Menchie’s was deemed problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that the police were called in the first place. But more than that, the fact that the man was eventually asked to leave by police was what this one officer found most disappointing.
He continued on, saying:
These Kirkland Police Department officers, they had a chance to change this scenario and make good of it, but they failed. Once again, people pick up the phone to protect and serve, and other people we fail in our society. We failed this young man — it was a perfect opportunity to change this narrative.
Kirkland PD is currently conducting its own investigation to determine whether proper protocol was followed in the incident, and have since issued an official apology. Ragland himself has stated, “I’m not accepting anybody’s apology. If you want to apologize to me, let’s change some practices, let’s change some policies.”