A lawyer for an African-American man who was strangled by a cop in a viral video says that that the situation started with a homophobic slur.
Anthony Wall, 22, was at a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina, taking his teen sister home from prom.
He, his sister, and a few friends sat down at a table, and a white employee berated them for sitting at a table that hadn’t yet been cleaned.
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Wall said that the employee called him a “faggot” and threatened to beat him up.
“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,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Wall, said at a press conference. “The Waffle House were unprofessional to their customers. Waffle House employees used homophobic slurs to Anthony Wall.”
Wall and the employee got into an argument, and another employee called the police.
In video that has since gone viral, the police officer can be seen pushing Wall up against the glass window with his hand around Wall’s neck. The officer is seen choking Wall while Wall has his hands in the air.
He said that he was “terrified” at this point.
“I was trying to get his arm off my throat to stop him from choking me,” Wall said. “I was not trying to fight him at all.”
He was then slammed to the ground. He shouted, “Get your hands off me.”
Wall said that when he was in the car being taken to the police station, an unattended police dog was snapping at him. He has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting a law enforcement officer.
Wall’s attorneys are now petitioning a court to obtain dashboard and body cam footage from police and security camera footage from Waffle House.
This incident comes several weeks after the violent arrest of Chikesia Clemons, a black woman, after employees at an Alabama Waffle House called the police on her.
At a press conference yesterday, Crump – Wall’s attorney – said Waffle House has “a practice and policy of discriminating against African-Americans.”
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., called for a boycott of Waffle House on Twitter.
Family, let’s stay out of @WaffleHouse until the corporate office legitimately and seriously commits to 1) discussion on racism, 2) employee training, and 3) other plans to change; and until they start to implement changes. https://t.co/NJWFOBKN7i
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 10, 2018
But that’s not how the city sees it. Warsaw Mayor A.J. Connors said that Wall had “broken the law” and “started a fight.”
“An officer’s job is to make an arrest if they see fit or there’s a reason to,” he said on Facebook in a video that has been deleted. “This officer did what he had to do to make sure.”
“Now I want the public to understand that this is not a racially-motivated issue.”
Waffle House said in a statement, “The race of Mr. Wall and the members of his party had absolutely nothing to do with that employee’s decision to contact the police.”