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Waffle House is under fire yet again.
Several weeks ago, the chain restaurant caught hell online after a video went viral of three White, male Saraland police officers in Mobile, Alabama, body slammed a 25-year old Chikesia Clemons to the ground. The footage shows officers choking Clemons at a Waffle House location and doing nothing to shield her exposed breasts as they violently arrested her for disorderly conduct.
Now, a new incident has come to light as another video was posted last week on Facebook showing 22-year old Anthony Wall being brutally assaulted by Officer Frank Moss (whose identity was shared on Twitter by activist Shaun King). Moss can be seen with his hands around Wall’s neck as he slams the young man against the restaurant’s glass window. The entire time, Wall’s hands are raised above his head as his slim body is thrown to the concrete ground like a rag doll.
Since the attack on May 8, Wall says his life has been completely changed.
“I’m worked up over it. I have been threatened and people are telling me what they want to do to me,” said Wall in an interview with theGrio. “I’m worried about my sister and my mother, who has to travel on backroads to get from work to home.”
Wall was arrested once a Warsaw, North Carolina Waffle House employee called the police after a dispute with Wall and his 16-year old sister.
The siblings and their friends had just left prom (Wall escorted his little sister and was still wearing his tuxedo when the incident occurred) and stopped at the Waffle House for a bite to eat. According to Wall, they sat at a table that was dirty, but the group ignored the setting since they wanted to sit together.
Wall says the server came over, started to take their order, but then stopped suddenly after complaints about the dirty table. An argument ensued with the server who allegedly calling the group the N-word.
“In the midst of that, the lady and my sister had some words,” said Wall. “I was pretty upset, but then [another employee] called me a f**got and all kind of other names. He was taking off his shirt to fight me but one of the other workers did hold him back. There was no manager on duty, it was just him watching the store. The girl called 911 and before I could get out the door, the officer grabbed me.”
What you see next is Officer Moss using a chokehold to subdue Wall, who says he was holding his hands up to try to free Moss’s grip. In all too familiar words, Wall explains that he could not breathe. The video clearly shows Moss putting his full body weight onto Wall as he attempts to handcuff the young man. The whole time Wall is heard saying, “get your hands off me” and asking for a supervisor.
“I was terrified and thinking if he’s doing this to me without handcuffs, what is he going to do to me once he gets the cuffs on,” said Wall.
Remnants of the past
The story unfortunately doesn’t end there. Wall was snatched up and thrown into the front of the officer’s car. According to Wall, there were four cruisers on the scene with four other police officers, but they decided to leave Wall in Moss’s car with a police dog in the back.
“The officer left me in that car by myself along with the dog barking and growling in the backseat. He came back to the car and said he was securing the guard. I had to sit there while he then went back to the Waffle House to talk to the employees about their statements,” explains Wall. “He got back, started driving and that’s when the dog got out and tried to snap at my left arm while I was still handcuffed with my hands behind my back.”
Wall says during that ride he asked the officer are you doing this because I’m Black to which Moss allegedly just laughed.
The fight against Waffle House
Anthony Wall is represented by attorneys Benjamin Crump and Allen Rogers, both of whom are calling this latest incident with the police, “willful and malicious behavior.”
“You don’t see professionalism here. What you see is anger and aggression,” said Rogers. “I don’t think it was a surprise that they chose him to be in that car when there were four other cars to choose from.”
“When you look at the clientele that the Waffle House anticipates at that time of night, why wasn’t there a manager on duty?” questions Rodgers. “Obviously they knew that these patrons frequent during these hours and they chose to give them less than the service they deserved.”
Wall was reportedly charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for arguing with the Waffle House employees. He admits that the situation in the restaurant could have been handled better, but believes the police went too far as he now has to deal with the ramifications of his arrest.
“We are investigating the Waffle House corporation to see if there is a pattern and practice amongst their corporate employees of discrimination based on race and sexual orientation against members of the LGBTQ community,” said Crump.
Waffle House CEO, Walt Ehmer, has reached out to Anthony Wall to apologize, but Crump doesn’t believe that’s nearly enough to fix a deeper problem that lies within the company.
Bernice King, the daughter of Civil Rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., pointed out Waffle House’ major flaws in a tweet she shared after the incident went viral intimating that folks should boycott their restaurants until the company decides to commit “to employee training, discussing racism and implementing changes.”
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
“We want to continue to have people express themselves right now. What’s the point of Waffle House apologizing if they don’t address what has happened to Ms. Clemons, Mr. Wall and others by their employees,” said Crump.
The Warsaw Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation are currently investigating the case, however, Mayor of Warsaw, A.J. Conners, is siding with his officers. In a Facebook statement, Conners said he believes Wall deserved to be arrested.
Anthony Wall and his family are starting to put the pieces of their lives back together as the investigation continues. What was supposed to be the most memorable night of his little sister’s life will now be remembered for a completely different reason.
Wendy L. Wilson is the managing editor of TheGrio. Follow her on Twitter @WendyLWilson.