A man who was choked and slammed by a police officer outside a Waffle House says he was also called gay slurs by the staff.
News is circulating about 22-year-old Anthony Wall. Right now, everyone’s trying to figure out if race and sexual orientation was the cause of Wall’s arrest and if it even matters at all.
On May 4, Wall had arrived at a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina. He had just gotten back from taking his little sister to her prom. The two, and an undisclosed amount of friends, tried to sit at an uncleared table, which allegedly riled up one of the employees.
“They sat down at the table, and note what the first statements were from the Waffle House employee,” Wall’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said at a news conference. “It wasn’t welcoming or inviting and almost so inappropriate I have problems even repeating [what] he told Anthony Wall, his little sister and others in his party.”
Wall told the waiter, who was white, that he couldn’t speak to the group like that. The situation escalated from there to include another Waffle House employee who was notably black.
“You will see from the video evidence as well as other objective evidence that indicates it was the Waffle House employees who were the initial aggressors,” he added. “The Waffle House were unprofessional to their customers. Waffle House employees used homophobic slurs to Anthony Wall.”
Wall reports that at this time, he was called a “faggot” by one of the employees and was threatened that a physical fight would break out.
Wall also later stated that he was to blame, along with the Waffle House staff, for the escalation of the fight.
That’s when the police showed up. Problem is that one officer’s way of dissolving the conflict was to rough up Wall. It got so bad that the officer grabbed onto Wall’s throat and chocked him.
“I was trying to get his arm off my throat to stop him from choking me,” Wall said in the Monday press conference, “I was not trying to fight him at all.”
One of Wall’s friends recorded the altercation with the police officer and it was later uploaded to Facebook.
Afterwards, Wall was placed in the officer’s car with a police dog allegedly snapping at him from the back seat. Once processed, Wall was charged with disorderly conduct in public as well as resisting, obstructing and delaying a law enforcement officer.
While the Waffle House says there will be an internal investigations to see if disciplinary actions are needed on their side (meaning they’re looking into whether the employees incited the fight and used gay and racist slurs), the police and the mayor’s office state that they’re sure race was not a factor in the actual arrest.
When asked to comment by NBC News, the Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland only stated that an officer can use physical force if someone is not complying.
In addition, A.J. Connors, the mayor of Warsaw who’s also a black man, said on Friday that the arrest, and it’s forcefulness, wasn’t based on race but rather based on a “young man who had broken the law, and a law enforcement officer arrested him.”