Black man choked, slammed against wall by officer at Waffle House, video shows

It's the latest controversy for the restaurant chain.

May 11, 2018, 5:03 PM

Waffle House is facing yet another controversy after video surfaced showing a black man being choked, dropped to the ground and arrested last weekend in Warsaw, North Carolina.

Anthony Wall, 22, had just taken his little sister to her prom when they walked into a Waffle House with a few other people, he told ABC News.

According to Wall, the group decided to sit at a table that hadn’t yet been cleaned. One of the Waffle House employees came up to them and asked them why they had sat down at that table and told them to get up, Wall said.

“I told him he didn’t have to talk to us like that,” Wall told ABC News.

After the verbal altercation escalated, police were called.

Video shows one officer grabbing Wall by the neck and pressing him into a glass wall. It's not clear what took place prior to the arrest.

“I was not threatening [the officer], he never said anything to me, he grabbed me and slammed me against the window,” Wall said.

In the video, Wall can be heard telling the officer, “Get your hands off of me,” as the officer chokes him and brings him to the ground. The officer then tells him to put his hands behind his back.

The Warsaw Police Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC News, but did provide a statement to ABC station WTVD.

“We are currently investigating the whole incident, interviewing witnesses and gathering additional video,” Police Chief Eric Southerland said in the statement. "We have also reached out to the District Attorney's Office to make him aware of the investigation.”

Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted that people need to stay out of Waffle House until the restaurant chain commits to employee training, discussing racism and implementing changes.

This incident comes a few weeks after a black woman was arrested inside an Alabama Waffle House after refusing to pay 50 cents for plastic utensils and asking for the company’s corporate office number.

PHOTO: A Warsaw police officer choked Anthony Wall after an altercation at a Waffle House in North Carolina.
Anthony Wall was arrested after an argument with staff at a Waffle House in Warsaw, N.C.

Chikesia Clemons was pinned down to the floor by three police officers and handcuffed even as the top of her shoulderless dress came down, exposing her breasts.

Local police maintained that the officers involved in the incident followed protocol, adding that Clemons and her friend were acting belligerently inside the Waffle House and drunkenly yelling profanities at restaurant employees and threatening to return with a gun.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) released a statement on both Waffle House arrests.

“In both cases, the black customers were reportedly unarmed and non-violent. Neither situation warranted police intervention, let alone such gratuitous use-of-force. Waffle House must conduct an extensive review and overhaul of its policies to ensure that employees do not needlessly subject customers of color to police contact and brutality. Police officials are not a private security force for untrained Waffle House employees. Waffle House cannot continue to avoid this issue," the LDF said.

The Waffle House sent a statement to ABC News addressing both incidents.

"We believe there is more to these stories than the short videos that have been posted might suggest," Pat Warner, director of public relations and external affairs for Waffle House, said in the statement. "Our review of these incidents do not indicate race was an issue in the decision to call the police in either case."

A spokesman for Waffle House later told ABC News that the chain's CEO Walt Ehmer spoke to Wall today by phone to apologize for the incident and to check in on him.

PHOTO: A Warsaw police officer choked Anthony Wall after an altercation at a Waffle House in North Carolina.
A Warsaw police officer choked Anthony Wall after an altercation at a Waffle House in North Carolina.

Wall said he takes responsibility for his argument in the restaurant but added that the officer had no right to do what he did.

“This officer needs to be off the street as well as any other officers that act that way,” Wall said. "He wasn’t handling me like he was trying to protect someone, he was handling me with anger.”

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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