More than a hundred Kirkland residents discuss racial incident in community

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Tuesday, more than a hundred members of the Kirkland community gathered at City Hall for a meeting on addressing a racial incident that happened in the city.

Earlier this month, Kirkland Police asked 31-year-old Byron Ragland to leave a Menchie's Yogurt store after two employees called saying he looked suspicious.

This incident was the focus of a town hall style meeting.

Members of the community got the chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and work toward making a change.

Some say fixing this problem falls on everyone.

“One woman said, ‘that’s a police a problem’, that’s exactly what it’s not,” said Kaylee Nilan a Kirkland resident in attendance.  “We’ll see what we can do about helping people making this a more welcoming community,” she added.

This was the first chance for many in attendance to address the issue that happened at Menchie's. However, for some this was not their first time attending a meeting like this.

“Probably twenty or thirty years ago, where I grew up, I sat in a similar meeting with similar conversation exactly the same thing with police interaction with black males in the town,” said Diana Williams. “Somewhat kind of sad about it, that you know, the conversation hasn’t changed much."

Williams lives in Kirkland. She says when she went to those meetings decades ago, they were for her. She attended Tuesday’s meeting with other people in mind.

“It could have been my son, easily,” she said.

Williams has three sons. She says she teaches them what to do in situations like what happened at Menchie's. However, she says she knows anything can happen.

City officials and law enforcement attended the meeting, but it was moderated by Leadership Eastside, KirklandSafe, and Indivisible Kirkland.