Waffle House choking incident on minds of frustrated Warsaw residents

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Packed house in Warsaw as Waffle House incident simmers
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It was a packed house in Warsaw as the Waffle House choking incident remains top of mind.

WARSAW, NC (WTVD) -- Warsaw residents came out to town hall in full force with hopes that their voices would be heard after the controversial video surfaced and went viral last week of a Warsaw police officer choking a 22-year-old man at a Waffle House.

Everyone that entered the town chambers was handed a sheet of paper that stated the boardroom can only accommodate 87 people and all others will be turned away.

And the others were turned away.

Warsaw Attorney Eugene Thompson sets the rules before the meeting began.

"There will be no comment made by any town officials regarding that incident," said Thompson.

Duplin County NAACP President Robert Moore was the only person who spoke in reference to the controversial video. He said this is not the only time Warsaw police have been too aggressive. The difference this time is it was captured on video, he said.

"There are stories on the streets as they say about officers being overzealous. Not just Warsaw police officers but probation officers," Moore said.

The meeting lasted about 20 minutes with town officials taking up issues such as flooding and city cleanup.

Meanwhile, unimpressed residents, such as 22-year-old Osheá Pittman drew their own conclusions from the audience.

"It was unproductive. The meeting had its own agenda and the people weren't on that agenda," Pittman said.

Outside the Warsaw town hall building, dozens of residents congregated. Many of them had signed up to speak at the meeting but weren't allowed inside because the room reached capacity.

"When you lock the door you got something to hide. So you're trying to hide something because you got the doors locked and the people that need to be in there are not in there," said resident Clarette Sutton.

The image of the Warsaw officer choking Anthony Wall, who had escorted his 16-year-old sister to the prom that night, is still fresh on the minds of many.

"We start thinking about Eric Garner. We think about so many people when that choking takes place. You find yourself vulnerable and saying I can't breathe," said the Rev. Curtis Gatewood of the Stop Killing Us organization.