Anthony Wall, the 22-year-old black man choked by a police officer during an arrest at a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina, has retained civil rights and personal injury attorneys in connection with the incident that took place last week.
Wall, through his attorneys, has laid allegations of further previously unreleased mistreatment by law enforcement, as well as allegations of devious behavior on the part of Waffle House staff.
What's the background?
Wall accompanied his 16-year-old sister to her prom last week. After the prom, Wall visited a local Waffle House franchise. While inside the Waffle House, Wall reportedly began arguing with staff, who ended up calling police.
When police arrived, they arrested Wall, but not before the arresting officer choked Wall and slammed him up against the Waffle House's façade. Video of the incident was captured, which Wall later shared to his Facebook page.
Wall told WTVD-TV that despite taking full responsibility for his actions inside the Waffle House, he did not feel his behavior warranted being manhandled by the officer.
Police charged Wall with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after the incident.
After the video made its rounds on the internet, many social media users — including Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter — called for a Waffle House boycott.
On Friday, Warsaw Mayor A.J. Connors said that the arrest was not racially motivated, like many social media users said, and noted that he did not believe the arresting officer used excessive force when dealing with Wall.
“I can assure you, this is not a racially motivated situation,” Connors said in a Friday Facebook video. “This was a young man who had broken the law, and a law enforcement officer arrested him. Unfortunately, physical contact took place because he refused to cooperate or follow or obey the law.”
“The young man came into the township of Warsaw, went into a restaurant, he became disruptive, he brought on the issue, which called for an arrest,” Connors continued. “This young man was irate and doing things and threatening employees.”
According to Connors, Wall also started a fight prior to police arrival at the Waffle House and refused to cooperate when police did arrive.
“The officer made every effort to secure him so that the public would be safe,” Connors explained. “Also, we must understand that this young man had broke the law. He was there, he started a fight, and an officer’s job is to make an arrest, if they see fit or there is a reason to.”
Connors revealed that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident.
The Washington Post published a statement from the Waffle House on Friday.
We believe there is more to these stories than the short videos that have been posted might suggest. Our review of these incidents do not indicate race was an issue in the decision to call the police in either case. Both incidents escalated quickly, and our employees called the police because of safety concerns for their customers and themselves.
What's the latest update?
A Sunday news release revealed that Wall and his family retained attorneys Benjamin Crump and Allen Rodgers.
Crump is also representing Chikesia Clemons, the 25-year-old woman who was involved in a violent arrest at an Alabama Waffle House in April, as well as Bob Marley's granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast.
Crump has also represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Stephon Clark.
According to the release, "Wall, who had just escorted his younger sister to her prom earlier, arrived at the Warsaw Waffle House and sat down with his guest at an empty table, which had not yet been cleaned."
"That decision became the basis that Waffle House employees used to speak to them in a derogatory manner, using homophobic slurs directed at Wall, and eventually summoning the police," the release continued.
"Wall can be seen being choked and slammed against a wall by a Warsaw police officer in a cellphone-captured video that has now gone viral," the release added.
The release noted that officers reportedly transported Wall to the jail facility in a marked K-9 unit with a K-9 inside the vehicle — a move the release called "inappropriate."
The Wall family and their attorneys will hold a news conference Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Fayetteville, North Carolina.