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Store Owner Calls Police on Black Veteran Working as Court-Appointed Special Advocate

UPDATE: Nov. 24, 2018 at 10:44 a.m. EST

Follow up: Black Veteran Racially Profiled in a Yogurt Shop, Cops Offer Canned Apology

ORIGINAL STORY Published Nov. 19, 2018

Byron Ragland was sitting in Menchie’s, a frozen yogurt shop in Kirkland, Wash., when police arrived and told him to leave.

Ragland, age 31, is a court-appointed special advocate, visitation supervisor and Air Force veteran. His job is to oversee meetings between children and the parents who have lost custody of them. Ragland was doing just that on Nov. 7, when the owner, Ramon Cruz, called the police on him because he “looked suspicious.” Cruz was not present at the store when the police were called.

Menchie’s is a FroYo chain with 540 locations that’s franchised all over the United States. The executive leadership is of course all white.

Ragland’s clients had ordered yogurt although he hadn’t. Within about half an hour of his clients ordering frozen yogurt, he said the police interrupted him observing the family.

“They asked me to leave,” Ragland said. “They asked for my ID. They told me the manager had been watching me and wanted me to move along.”

Yes “move along.”

According to the 911 call, Cruz stated: “They’re kind of scared because he looks suspicious. All he does is look at his phone, look at them, look at his phone, look at them.”

The police report reflects that the Kirkland officers were told he was there working. In fact, he was legally required to be there overseeing the mother and son because it was his job.

“Store employees told me that he had been in the store for a while and did not buy anything, and he was not making them feel comfortable,” said an “unwanted subject” report. The employees “were both thankful that Ragland was gone.”

The owner is, Latino, so this isn’t about Anglo-whites being out of place for calling the police. As a minority owner, Cruz should not have been so quick to jump to conclusions based on what his employees described.

Two out of three people in the group were actually eating yogurt so it wasn’t about the fact that he didn’t buy anything. It didn’t matter how well-dressed Ragland was. How could someone looking at his phone and observing the people who were with him be deemed a threat

Plain and simple, they didn’t want a Black man in the store.

Reader Question: Have you or anyone who know had an experience similar to what happened to Byron Ragland

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