The Waffle House is facing more scrutiny after a string of incidents have shed light on disparaging treatment of black customers. Last year, GQ magazine proudly dubbed the restaurant a place “where America is at its truest,” which could have several meanings, depending on the interpretation.
In the latest video to go viral involving the nearly 70-year-old restaurant chain, an officer from the Warsaw Police Department is seen choking a black customer outside of a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina last Saturday (May 5).
The footage shows 22-year-old Anthony Wall being violently restrained and arrested after getting into an argument with several employees, which resulted in police being called to the location.
Wall stopped to grab food at the restaurant after taking his 16-year-old sister to prom earlier in the night. Though the details surrounding his argument with the waitstaff are unclear, Wall took responsibility for his words with employees inside the restaurant, and said that he shared the arrest video on social media Tuesday (May 8) to raise awareness.
The footage shows an officer choking Wall, who’s dressed in a tuxedo, up against one of the restaurant’s windows before slamming him on the ground.
“I was pretty much trying to scream for air to breathe because he was holding my throat,” Wall told North Carolina’s ABC 11. “That’s when I got aggressive with him, because you are choking me. I’m not trying to be a person to die out here, I just want you to stop choking me.”
Police charged Wall with disorderly conduct for the argument with employees, and resisting arrest. “Your hands should have never been around my neck like that if my hands were in the air,” Wall said of the officer involved.
The Warsaw Police Department is investigating the “whole incident, interviewing witnesses and gathering additional video.” The department also informed the local District Attorney of the investigation.
The Waffle House has yet to speak out on the incident with Wall, but the company defended police in a separate violent arrest of customer, Chikesia Clemons, in Alabama last month, eliciting calls for a boycott of the company.
Another black female customer was locked out of Waffle House in Pinson, Ala. the same day that a white gunman killed four black and latino victims inside a Tennessee location.
Jacinta Mitchell (the customer in Pinson) filmed from outside of the restaurant as white customers are eating inside, and at least one employee can be seen preparing food. Mitchell says that she was told that the Waffle House was closed, despite being a 24-hour restaurant.
“They have the door locked and they have customers in here, and they’re saying that they’re closed,” Mitchell says in the video. “The customers are eating and they happen to be white customers, and I am an African-American. They have people that they’re serving but they’re telling me that they’re closed.”
Mitchell’s intention for recording and posting the incident online was to show the company’s corporate office and to bring it to the public’s attention.
Waffle House spokesperson, Pat Warner, said that the company “launched an investigation to gather all of the facts,” in regards to why Mitchell was not allowed inside the restaurant.
“Waffle House is a welcoming place for everyone, and we are fortunate to enjoy a very diverse and loyal customer base who we do our best to serve every day,” the company said in a statement published by a AL.com. “The employee involved should not have locked the front door at all and should have certainly opened the door for the customer when she arrived. We will get the facts and take appropriate action quickly.”
Watch video of Wall’s arrest below.