Civil rights lawyers say Waffle House workers to blame for Warsaw choking incident

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
FBI joins Waffle House choking investigation
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The FBI is now joining the investigation into the Warsaw Waffle House incident.

WARSAW, NC (WTVD) -- The FBI is now joining the investigation into the Warsaw Waffle House incident. This comes as the Warsaw Police Department announced that the officer at the center of the investigation has been placed on administrative leave.

On Monday, national civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, a Lumberton native, announced he was stepping in. First, going after Waffle House, Crump along with Fayetteville lawyer Allen Rogers and the local NAACP held a news conference in Cumberland County on behalf of Anthony Wall of Fayetteville, the man choked in the now-viral video.

"It was the Waffle House employees that were the initial aggressors. It was the Waffle House employees that were unprofessional with their customers," Crump said.

Crump said an argument that was also caught on video started when Waffle House employees hurled homophobic and derogatory slurs at Wall and his younger sister the moment they sat down for a meal after Wall, 22, escorted his 16-year-old sister to prom.

"If you don't respect our black business. Then don't expect our dollars. So we're here to investigate the patterns and practices not only against minorities but against members of the LGBTQ community," Crump said.

The incident escalated once police arrived, leading to Wall being choked and slammed by a Warsaw police officer.

"When you summon the police, you don't expect to have a bully police officer to come and grab a person by the neck to choke them. Again there is no protocol where police officers are allowed to use deadly force, choking as a mechanism to make an arrest," said Rogers.

But Wall said Monday that it didn't stop there. He claimed he was forced to ride in a K-9 squad car on the way to jail.

"The dog got out and snapped at me. At this time, I'm in fear of my life again," Wall said.

Crump said he is investigating whether that transport followed Warsaw Police policy.

"Everywhere I know, you don't transport individual suspects in cars with police dogs or K-9s, especially if there were five other cars out there," Crump said.

Though Crump acknowledged that the Waffle House CEO called Wall to apologize, he's now calling on the Warsaw Police Department and Waffle House to release any video of the incident.