Law enforcement will no longer eat at a Washington State restaurant after the eatery's owner asked them not to come back, officials said.
Four deputies with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office were finishing lunch at Lucky Teriyaki in Sedro-Woolley, about 70 miles north of Seattle, when the restaurant’s owner asked them not to eat there anymore, Sheriff Will Reichardt said in a post on the Department’s Facebook page.
“I am not often speechless but today I was advised of an incident... that completely took me by surprise,” Reichardt wrote.
Two deputies paying for the group’s lunch were told other customers did not like having law enforcement at the restaurant, he wrote.
When the department’s chief deputy spoke with the owner to confirm, he allegedly repeated the request, and "asked that we spread the word to other law enforcement that they were no longer welcome either," Reichardt wrote.
The request came as a shock for police, who had just been celebrated during a local "United We Stand by Our Law Enforcement" event, the post said.
But the owners of Lucky Teriyaki claim a language barrier was the root of the issue.
The owners of the restaurant told KOMO News through an interpreter that an employee misinterpreted customers upset at an unrelated issue to be uncomfortable that police were eating in the restaurant. An employee asked the deputies if they were about to leave, the restaurateurs told KOMO news.
“Yeah, I want police to coming,” one of the owners told the news station, saying law enforcement will eat for free on Monday.
The Sheriff’s Office replied online to reports that there had been a breakdown in communication, writing on Facebook: “No language barrier.”
“I understand a business owner has a right to refuse service if he wants to,” Reichardt wrote. “I also understand that as customers we all have the right to find some other restaurant to take our lunch break in.”
The Sheriff’s Office said regardless of how they were allegedly treated, they will continue to respond to the business if their presence is required.
“We will be there. It is our job,” it said on Facebook.
Attempts by InsideEdition.com to reach the restaurant were unsuccessful.