Sheriff: Deputies told police aren't welcome in Washington restaurant

A Washington teriyaki restaurant has become the target of boycotts and threats after the Skagit County sheriff wrote a Facebook post saying his deputies -- and other law enforcement officers -- were asked not to eat there.

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The father and son who own Lucky Teriyaki insist the whole issue is the result of a very big misunderstanding due to poor English skills. Sheriff Will Reichardt wrote in a Facebook post Thursday that the situation completely took him by surprise.

I am not often speechless but today I was advised of an incident at the Lucky Teriyaki restaurant in Sedro-Woolley that...

Posted by Skagit County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, July 14, 2016

"My chief deputy spoke to the owner to confirm this because he simply could not believe what he was hearing," Reichardt wrote. "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."

The restaurant owner's family, who speak Mandarin, told KIRO reporter Natasha Chen that while the Skagit County deputies were eating lunch in the restaurant Thursday, a group nearby spilled soup and their drinks and seemed agitated and argumentative.

The owner's son said he told the deputies in very broken English that they made the other customers "uncomfortable."

"Police not welcome here," is how they now believe it was received by the deputies.

Chen said she explained to the man and his son that the chief deputy followed up with a phone call.

"Didn't you understand that they were giving you a chance to straighten this out?" Chen asked in Mandarin.

The son says he didn't understand the questions, and he may have just answered, "Yeah," to the chief deputy's inquiries, not grasping the gravity of what was about to happen.

Within minutes of Reichardt's post, Facebook blew up with "Boycott Lucky Teriyaki" and more. Thousands left comments on Lucky Teriyaki's Facebook page and another calling for a boycott, expressing outrage.

Reichardt was not available for comment Thursday evening. The restaurant owners told KIRO they welcome officers and they're offering free food for all law enforcement officers Monday.

"We want them to come," he said.