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Kirkland police: No racial bias in November Menchie’s incident

Byron Ragland, right, talks with Kirkland police Sgt. Eric Karp Nov. 20, 2018 near a frozen-yogurt shop that Ragland was kicked out of weeks earlier in Kirkland, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Kirkland police released their findings in a report on an incident at a local Menchie’s in November, where a manager called the police on a black man, sparking a discussion around racism from both sides of the aisle.

RELATED: Plenty of blame to go around in Menchie’s incident

Byron Ragland’s job is to monitor children in potentially problematic situations at home, and was doing just that from a distance at Menchie’s on Nov. 7. Having not ordered anything, his presence made employees nervous.

They then called their manager, who, after monitoring the situation from security cameras, called the police to have them ask Ragland to move along. There were heightened concerns after the franchise experienced robberies recently. Ragland, and the parent and child he was monitoring, reportedly told police what they all were doing there. They were still asked by police to leave.

Ragland was identified as African-American in the manager’s 911 call, and many speculated that the incident was racially motivated.

The final report from police came to a handful of conclusions in the wake of the incident:

  • Officers “missed the opportunity to mediate” between Ragland and employees, failing to determine his purpose for being there in the first place.
  • The officers didn’t act out of racial bias, and handled the call in a manner “consistent with departmental norms.”
  • A formal protocol for responding to an “unwanted person” needs to be established by the department.
  • All City of Kirkland departments — including Kirkland PD — will receive additional implicit bias training.

“The Kirkland Police Department is committed to being the best police department in the country,” said Kirkland Police Chief Cherie Harris. “When we fall short of our own expectations, we acknowledge it and work quickly to learn and improve.”

RELATED: Protesters call for boycott of Kirkland Menchie’s

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