Officials in Warsaw, North Carolina, are answering questions following the controversial arrest of an African-American man at a Waffle House and promising transparency after an apparent choke hold and takedown was caught on video at the Waffle House.
“I can assure you, this is not a racially motivated situation,” said Mayor A.J. Connors in a Facebook post on May 11.
Connors on Friday praised the arrest, and twice denied that race played a role. “We must understand that this young man broke the law,” Connors said. “He was there. He started a fight – this officer did what he had to do.”
Waffle House, echoing the mayor, said in a statement it did not believe race was a factor and that there is “more to these stories than the short videos that have been posted might suggest.”
Anthony Wall says he had taken his younger sister to the prom on May 4, then to Waffle House, where he argued with employees and police were called. He now admits he got confrontational with the officer. “I was pretty much trying to scream for air and trying to breathe because he was holding my throat. That’s when I got aggressive with him because you are choking me,” Wall said.
But Wall’s supporters, including the NAACP, call the officer’s use of physical force inappropriate.
Now Connors is calling for patience and restraint. “We ask you to stop calling the police department, making threats and calls,” he said, while investigators review the officer’s actions. “At this time, let the system work,” Connors said.
The officer involved has not been identified. Wall, for his part, is out on bond, facing charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.