Edmonds Diversity Commission responds to harassment incident at Highway 99 McDonald’s


The Edmonds Diversity Commission has issued a statement regarding a recent harassment incident an Edmonds McDonald’s restaurant, when a woman allegedly engaged in a tirade against members of a Hispanic family who were speaking Spanish at their table.

Calling the incident “hurtful,” the commission encouraged Edmonds residents “to engage in reflection and/or dialogue with friends, family and neighbors about the incident, its potential causes and ramifications.”

The harassment, highlighted on KIRO-TV news Monday night, was reported Tuesday to the Edmonds City Council and Mayor Dave Earling by City Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty, who serves as the Diversity Commission staff liaison. During the incident, which occurred Friday, May 4 at the Edmonds McDonald’s in the 21400 block of Highway 99, the woman reportedly said “get out of our country…if you don’t speak English, you shouldn’t be here,” Doherty said. She then went on to open the door of an unlocked car in the parking lot — thinking it belonged to the family — and spat in it.

According to Edmonds police spokesman Josh McClure, police responded to a 911 call about the incident at 12:44 p.m. Friday. “A witness saw the suspect drive away in a vehicle and gave dispatch the license plate,” McClure said. “Officers responding to the call found the suspect vehicle and stopped it.”

The suspect, age 59 and from Edmonds, was arrested and booked into Snohomish County Jail on a charge of malicious harassment.

Here’s the full Diversity Commission statement:

The Edmonds Diversity Commission wishes to express its deep concern over the recent unfortunate incident involving the harassment of a Hispanic-American family at the Highway 99 McDonald’s in Edmonds last Friday, May 4th. In response to this incident, and other past incidents of a similar nature, the Edmonds Diversity Commission encourages Edmonds residents to engage in reflection and/or dialogue with friends, family and neighbors about the incident, its potential causes and ramifications. As for the Commission, our mission and work plan are dedicated to exploring and addressing the environment and conditions in Edmonds that may lead to incidents of discrimination and/or exclusion. Consequently, the Commission also invites the public to attend any of its meetings on the first Wednesdays of every month to share thoughts and comments on this incident or related issues. By coming together, we can make hurtful incidents such as this serve as a source of strength and cohesion in our community.

18 Replies to “Edmonds Diversity Commission responds to harassment incident at Highway 99 McDonald’s”

  1. I wonder if this misguided and hate-filled woman would have reacted the same way if the victims of her diatribe had been tall, blond, and speaking Swedish or German? It would also be interesting to know what country her ancestors came from – perhaps she might think of returning there, if she finds American diversity and respect for fellow citizens so difficult a concept.


    1. Wow, pretty hateful post Nathaniel. I am very grateful we have a Diversity Commision, who have a very distinct, educated statement. We cannot fight “hate” with your hate. Let the “strength and cohesion” of our Diversity Commission speak for our community.


      1. Linda Mae – Thank you for your gloves-off comment. If Teresa will allow it, I’d like to try to explain what seems to have been misunderstood, probably because of poor writing on my part. My points were:

        1) This was a terrible occurrence. I suspect we agree on this one!
        2) I suspect that the incident was racial: Hispanic appearance, Spanish language, perhaps somewhat darker skin – would the reaction have been the same had the victims been clearly northern European? I’ve brought friends from at least eight countries here, all European, and never had anything of the sort happen.
        3) My third point, which I probably made unclear, is that we are all immigrants to America, and that someone who wants someone else to “go back” ought to reflect on this, and perhaps ask “Why did my family come here? Would I be better off to ‘go back’ if I cannot accept American diversity? I, too, am a ‘foreigner’.”

        I hope this may clarify what I meant. There was no hate intended. Thank you for calling me out.


        1. NB, your points were clear to begin with and your clarifications helped expand. One point of clarification, we do have a number of people who are in the US that are not immigrants who were here before the rest of us arrived by transit or birth.


        2. Darrol,

          There are a number of people who are in the US since birth, who do not only speak English natively or exclusively.


      2. There is nothing hateful about anything in Nathaniel R Brown’s comment. It’s a perfectly civil and reasonable response to racially motivated incivility described in the article.

        Unfortunately, defending ignorance, incivility, and racism by attacking those who show the courage by challenging those things has become all to common in the age of Trump. This needs to stop.


        1. THIS! Thank you, Jeff and Nathaniel, and to all in our community who are working to address and dismantle racism.


    2. In fairness to the lady who spit in a random car, countries like Norway dont require you to be tall and blond as Nathaniel points out, but they usually require immigrants to know and speak the language. Norse is an easy one to learn, am I right?

      Theres no way a lady simply overheard people speaking spanish, then spit in a car. There had to of been an argument over b.s. and grown people lack conflict resolution skills. The “speak English in America” card is half way thru the deck.

      My late grandmother told some Mexican workers that in America “we speak english.”
      They laughed but were polite to her. Hundreds of thousands of our grandparents, the ones who sent questionable racist chain emails from aol accounts where ya gotta scroll to the bottom to find the moral of the story, have all said “speak english”. These are not bad people. Be civil, have some tolerance for intolerance. If the end goal is to make people more culturally sensitive, then get off the high horses and help people persuasively. Spitting in cars is a crime. Questionably racist chain emails and from another generation are endearing if you’re not intolerant.


      1. Matthew,

        1) So that would mean we should all be speaking one of the Native American languages.
        2) Knowing the accepted language of a country doesn’t mean prohibiting people to speak other languages. That family probably does speak English, but were choosing, at a private family meal, to speak Spanish.


        1. I’m all for language choice. My macro point has more to do with this public response an spin. People, such as the Norse and Quebecois, seem to be immune from xenophobic rhetoric that white Americans get beat on the head with all the time. Some places actually codify which language you have to use, but they give “free” healthcare so they are okay. It’s fair to say that Mexico is a different country, Yemen is a different country, and there are cultural differences for which it is objectively fair for white Americans to criticize. We have better woman’s rights for example and immigration can undo much of that. Remind you that I’m saying this in general, that if enough Mexicans can immigrate here, then they’ll bring their language, their masculine culture, and will likely be a voting block to ban abortion too. Personally, I can’t wait to be a minority so that I can pull the race card. #LetEmIn Last summer I saw a wealthy Middle Eastern man get out of a car, and his two wives who wore complete black burkas got out of a different car, then walked behind him down Main and 5th (the women looked very young too judging by their eyes). As culturally aware as we like to pretend, it was a blast to watch Edmonsites react to seeing subjugated women on full parade. “In America we speak English”, “In America we let our woman have equal rights.” Each statement is equally as bigoted.


  2. I didn’t perceive your comment as hateful, Nathaniel. I think your point- that if it had been a Caucasian family speaking a European language, it likely would have been a very different scenario- was clearly stated and important to reflect on.
    I also did not find your “return” comment hateful, but rather a reminder that we are nation of immigrants and diversity is our legacy. Thank you for speaking up!


  3. I second Kathleen’s comment. I also applaud the tendency of the majority of posters to MEN toward respectful discourse, rather than name-calling or dismissing others who may not share our exact viewpoints; as well as holding oneself accountable for his/her own posted comments. Nathaniel’s response to Linda’s comment is a fine example of the latter.


  4. Let me show you what “is a fine example”. It was Nathaniel R. Brown who called the woman who is accused, as “mis-guided and hate filled”. Is he judge and jury? Is his comment labeling this woman, who he does not know, but judges in this very comments section really acceptable to you? This is what you call respectful discourse? I only “called him out”, on his comment for stating what is probably obvious to many, but still only conjecture at this point, that this woman is “hate-filled” and “mis-guided”. The input by the Diversity Commission should hold some weight, that is why we have the DC. We should all be trying to stop making quick-to-judgement, name calling statements, and should stop the “mob mentality”, and let the police and DC do their job. By me saying that Nathaniels post was “hateful”, is not calling him personally “hateful”. Do you see the double standard here? He can call someone “hateful and misguided”, but I am not allowed to call his post “hateful”. While not a person defers to the “Diversity Commission’s” timely statement. Nor anyone thanking the Diversity Commission for an eloquent measured, educated statement. Only those whose double-standard says it is ok for a man to call a woman names in a comments section, but a woman calling a man’s post “hateful” is held as a “fine example”. OK, got it.


  5. I was actually referring to Nathaniel’s response, some of which appears below. He refers to what he intended in his first post, and takes accountability for what you might have perceived as hateful. This is the “fine example” to which I refer: not his initial post necessarily, but his response to an opposing viewpoint (yours), which is also valid; even if some (like Kathleen and myself) might disagree.

    “I hope this may clarify what I meant. There was no hate intended. Thank you for calling me out.”



  6. TJensen above. I said nothing about language in my post above. I merely point out that we are not all immigrants to this land. There were people here long ago before the rest of us showed up.


  7. Matthew: “Norse” is no longer spoken anywhere. The closest to it would be Icelandic or Faroese. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are “Nordic” languages, not “norse” and would be mutually incomprehensible to a theoretical Norse speaker. Norse is actually an extremely complex language, and quite hard to learn.

    I did not point that any countries Scandinavian do not make requirements as to size or hair color.

    According to your link, Norway requires immigrants to study the language, not initially to speak it.


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