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Chinese restaurant owner deluged with threats after sheriff wrongly accuses him of banning cops

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A Chinese restaurant owner broke down sobbing after he learned that his son had mistakenly told a group of Washington sheriff’s deputies that law enforcement officers were not welcome.

The misunderstanding happened Thursday, when four Skagit County sheriff’s deputies stopped into Lucky Teriyaki restaurant in Sedro-Woolley, reported KIRO-TV.

The deputies said the owner asked them to leave as two of them were paying their bill, saying they were no longer welcome there because they upset other customers.

The chief deputy said the owner later confirmed the account by phone, and Sheriff Will Reichart then called for a boycott in a Facebook post.

“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,” Reichart posted. “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.”

The social media post was widely shared, and the restaurant owners said they’ve received death threats and other harassing phone calls since the sheriff posted his complaint.

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But it all may be based on a miscommunication.

KIRO-TV sent a reporter to the restaurant after the sheriff’s Facebook post went viral, and he noticed the owner didn’t seem to understand his questions very well.

So he put the man in touch with another reporter who speaks Mandarin, and the owner wept when he found out what had happened.

He explained through the interpreter that the deputies had been seated near another group who spilled soup and water, and they appeared to be agitated and argumentative.

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The son was concerned the deputies had made the other customers uncomfortable, and he asked them in broken English if they were about to leave when they paid their check.

“Police not welcome here,” the son told the deputies.

Natasha Chen, the Mandarin-speaking reporter, asked the owner and his son if they understood that another deputy had tried to clarify what had happened.

The son said he didn’t understand the questions, and may have just answered “yeah” to all of them.

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The owner, Xuechuang Li, said they simply replied “okay” when angry callers deluged them with complaints and threats.

The sheriff posted an update Friday afternoon on the department’s Facebook page, saying he had spoken to the owner and his son about the miscommunication.

“They apologized for the incident that made news yesterday, and expressed their desire to accept everyone to their business, including law enforcement officers associated with all offices and departments,” the sheriff said. “I told both father and son that I was appreciative and grateful for their willingness to once again welcome everyone to visit their restaurant. And that it was my hope that this matter can quickly be put behind us all.”

The sheriff thanked everyone “who expressed support for law enforcement” and asked them to “accept that this matter has been resolved to our satisfaction.”

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Someone commenting under the department’s log-in dismissed the possibility in a previous posting that the owner’s son didn’t understand what he was saying.

Li and his son are offering free food Monday to law enforcement officers in hopes of straightening out the misunderstanding.

“Yeah, I want police coming,” the son said.

“He means welcome for police officers to come over here,” Li said.

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Watch this video report posted online by KIRO-TV:

Update: Added information about the sheriff’s meeting with the restaurant owner and his son.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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