SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. -- The owner of the Lucky Teriyaki broke down in tears Thursday night and said cops are welcome at his restaurant -- will even get free meals on Monday -- after a public backlash to a report by the Skagit County sheriff said the man had told deputies that law enforcement officers were no longer welcome at his establishment.
The man's son said it had all been a misunderstanding and he apologized for the incident.
The incident came to light on Thursday when Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt posted a message on his Facebook page that he was left "speechless" after learning that the owner of the teriyaki restaurant asked his deputies not to return to eat there because "other customers didn't like law enforcement there."
Reichardt said his chief deputy spoke to the owner of Lucky Teriyaki in Sedo-Woolley later to confirm what he had heard.
"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."
Here is the full statement posted on Facebook by Reichardt:
"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 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."
It's not known how many law enforcement officers will return to eat lunch at the restaurant.