Sheriff: Restaurant Owner Told Deputies They Can't Eat There

But owner says it was big misunderstanding due to language barrier
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2016 2:28 PM CDT

The sheriff of a county about 70 miles north of Seattle says the owner of a Chinese restaurant has asked that law enforcement no longer dine there. Per the AP, Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt said on Facebook that after four deputies finished lunch at Lucky Teriyaki in Sedro-Woolley Thursday, the owner asked them not to eat there anymore. Reichardt says the deputies were told that customers didn't like law enforcement there. The sheriff says his chief deputy called the owner later Thursday and says the request was confirmed, along with a request to spread the word among other law enforcement agencies. "I understand a business owner has a right to refuse service if he wants to," Reichardt wrote in his Thursday post, which has since gone viral. "I also understand that as customers we all have the right to find some other restaurant to take our lunch break in."

But a slightly different story has emerged on KOMO, which says the owners of the restaurant, through an interpreter, are calling the entire incident a giant misunderstanding that was brought about by a language barrier. They say that during the deputies' lunch, other customers became upset after some soup and water spilled; a worker thought maybe it was because the deputies were nearby and asked the deputies if they were getting ready to leave. An employee then further misunderstood when the chief deputy called to confirm the story, the owners say. A video on Q13 FOX shows the restaurant's owner breaking down while talking about the incident, and his son appears on camera to apologize for his lack of English skills; the owners are also inviting law enforcement members to eat there for free on Monday. The AP's calls to the restaurant for comment were met with busy signals. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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