Video shows incident that led to Waffle House choking arrest of black man

New video clips from a student who was in the Warsaw, NC Waffle House the night Anthony Wall was choked and slammed to the ground by police officer Frank Moss shows what happened inside the restaurant that led to the violent arrest on May 5, 2018.
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New video clips from a student who was in the Warsaw, NC Waffle House the night Anthony Wall was choked and slammed to the ground by police officer Frank Moss shows what happened inside the restaurant that led to the violent arrest on May 5, 2018.
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New video shows argument that led to Waffle House choking arrest of black man by NC cop

By Abbie Bennett

abennett@newsobserver.com

May 15, 2018 12:01 PM

New video clips have surfaced from a student who says she was in the Warsaw, North Carolina Waffle House the night a 22-year-old man in a tuxedo was choked and slammed to the ground by a police officer. The clips offer more information about what happened inside the restaurant that night

Kaia Johnson's SnapChat clips show a loud, heated and explicit argument between Anthony Wall, his 16-year-old sister and Waffle House employees.

A waitress at the Waffle House called the police because of the exchange and Wall was arrested by Warsaw police officer Frank Moss, a video Wall shared on his Facebook page shows.

Johnson, 18, is a student at Wallace-Rose High School — the same school as Wall's sister — and said she was at the Waffle House following the prom Wall escorted his sister to.

In the video clips, Wall's sister can be heard accusing staff of cursing at her and both Wall and his sister curse at employees in the Waffle House crowded with other students who attended the prom. A female Waffle House employee is seen briefly with a phone to her ear.

The videos do not show what started the argument.

In another clip of the video, Moss is shown pinning Wall to the ground while Wall shouts "Get your hands off me."

A video posted on Facebook shows a Warsaw, NC police officer choking a black man wearing prom attire and slamming him to the ground at a Waffle House. The police department and district attorney's office are investigating.

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Another clip shows Wall's sister standing in front of Moss, who is holding Wall on the ground, saying, "He shouldn't have my brother on the ground like that."

Wall's lawyers said on May 14 they are pursuing police dashcam and Waffle House surveillance video of the incident and are investigating whether the company has a pattern of discrimination.

The Warsaw Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation are investigating Wall's arrest.

Accounts of what happened on May 5 at the Warsaw Waffle House differ between Wall and Warsaw's mayor and police.

A.J. Connors, the mayor of Warsaw, said in a video statement on Facebook last week that Wall "started a fight" at the restaurant, threatened employees and should have been arrested.

Wall said he and his sister argued with Waffle House employees after an employee cursed at Wall and his group for sitting at a table that hadn’t been cleaned yet. A waitress then called police, Wall said.

"There was a table and I heard them ask to sit there and one of the waiters got an attitude about it and things just got out of hand," Johnson said in an interview with The News & Observer on May 15.

One of Wall's lawyers, Benjamin Crump, said restaurant employees used gay slurs when addressing Wall, and were the ones to instigate the disturbance. Crump also is representing Chikesia Clemons, who was violently arrested by police officers at a Waffle House in Saraland, Alabama in April.

But the Warsaw mayor said Wall's arrest was not racially motivated.

Warsaw, NC Mayor AJ Connors released a video statement on Friday defending an officer of the Warsaw Police Department shown on video choking and slamming Anthony Wall to the ground at a local Waffle House.

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"Now I want the public to understand that this is not a racially-motivated issue. This was just a young man who had broken the law, and a law enforcement officer arrested him. And unfortunately physical contact took place because he refused to cooperate or follow the — or obey the law."

Wall was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for arguing with the Waffle House employees.

Wall's lawyers said they will sue for the videos if they are not provided.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund also called for the release of video and audio of the incident.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, called for people to avoid the restaurant chain until it commits to employee training and other changes.

Waffle House spokesperson Pat Warner said the company's review of the Clemons and Wall arrests don't indicate race was an issue in employees' decisions to call law enforcement.

NAACP District 9 Director Jimmy Buxton said the group is “gravely concerned about this issue and a lot of issues going on nationally. If they need our support, we will help them.”

The Warsaw Police Department has received phone calls and social media messages, some of which are threats against Moss, said Glenn Barfield, an attorney representing the officer.

"Officer (Frank) Moss has not been suspended or put on any formal administrative or investigative leave," Barfield said in an email to The News & Observer on May 14.