A sheriff in Washington state said he was stunned Thursday after an owner of a local restaurant asked his deputies not to return to the establishment because “other customers didn’t like law enforcement there.” Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt posted the story to Facebook and it went viral, shared some 12,000 times by Friday morning. But it all might have been a misunderstanding.
“I am not often speechless but today I was advised of an incident at the Lucky Teriyaki restaurant in Sedro-Woolley that completely took me by surprise,” Reichardt wrote in aFacebook post on the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office page. He said as deputies went to pay, the owner requested they not eat there anymore because other customers did not like police.
“My chief deputy spoke to the owner to confirm this because he simply could not believe what he was hearing,” wrote Reichardt. “The owner not only repeated the request but asked that we spread the word to other law enforcement that they were no longer welcome either.”
Thursday night, however, the family that runs Lucky Teriyaki in Sedro-Woolley, a northwestern Washington town some 70 miles outside of Seattle, said the situation was the result of a language barrier. The owner broke down in tears over the incident and even offered free meals Monday to police, according to Seattle-Tacoma television station KCPQ. Wrote KCPQ, “the man’s son said in a heavy accent that it had all been a misunderstanding and he apologized for the incident.”
Using an interpreter to talk with the owners, KOMO news reported that Lucky Teriyaki has received death threats. A table near the deputies apparently got upset over a spill, and an employee wondered if it was because police were sitting nearby. The employee asked if they were about to leave. The employee then didn’t understand what was happening when asked to clarify by police, according to the story told to KOMO.
Lucky Teriyaki has been flooded with negative comments and Yelp reviews. It now has a one star rating.
I am not often speechless but today I was advised of an incident at the Lucky Teriyaki restaurant in Sedro-Woolley that completely took me by surprise. Particularly on the heels of the United We Stand by our Law Enforcement event that was such an overpowering show of appreciation for our deputies and officers serving Skagit County.
This afternoon 4 Skagit County Sheriff’s office deputies were finishing up lunch at Lucky’s. As 2 deputies went up to pay they were informed by the owner that he requested they not eat there anymore. They were told that other customers didn’t like law enforcement there. My chief deputy spoke to the owner to confirm this because he simply could not believe what he was hearing. The owner not only repeated the request but asked that we spread the word to other law enforcement that they were no longer welcome either.
I understand a business owner has a right to refuse service if he wants to…….I also understand that as customers we all have the right to find some other restaurant to take our lunch break in.
Will Reichardt, Sheriff
Skagit County Sheriff’s Office