While he was observing a court-ordered visit between a 12-year-old boy and his mother as a part of his job, Byron Ragland had the cops called on him.
Ragland — a court-appointed special advocate and a visitation supervisor — told KIRO7 that he was watching the meeting between son and mother at a Menchie’s Yogurt Shop in Kirkland, Washington, earlier this month when a pair of officers approached him.
Ragland, who is black, said he “definitely thought it was profiling and discrimination,” according to KIRO7.
“Pretty much I look up, and these two police officers [are] standing in front, from what I remember there,” he told the outlet, “and the first comments were we need to leave the premises.”
Ramon Cruz, who owns that specific yogurt shop, called the Kirkland Police Department on November 7 and said someone at the store was “uncomfortable” because of Ragland, according to a report from the Kirkland Police Department.
Two employees told police that Ragland “had been in the store for a while and did not buy anything,” according to the police report.
At first, Ragland said he wasn’t going to leave, police say, but he later left the yogurt shop with the mother and son after authorities asked for him to provide more information. Two workers at the shop “were both thankful that Ragland was gone,” the police report says.
Ragland, who “was not arrested,” said he sadly wasn’t surprised by what happened, according to a column in The Seattle Times. He is a student at the University of Washington Tacoma.
Ragland says he was especially offended because an officer asked him to “move along,” a phrase he viewed as dismissive, according to The Seattle Times. The nine-year U.S. Air Force veteran said his black skin is likely the reason why police were called in the first place.
“You listen to that 911 call. (Cruz) says right in there that I’m not doing anything,” Ragland recalled, according to The Seattle Times. “But that’s all it takes in America — for you to be black, and to be somewhere you’re not supposed to be.
“And where you’re supposed to be is not up to you,” he continued. “It’s up to somebody else’s opinion.”