SBI investigation underway where police officer choked a young black man outside of Warsaw NC Waffle House

At 12:23 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Anthony Wall, age 22 posted a video that has since gone viral on Facebook of an incident that occurred Saturday, May 5, 2018 just after he’d taken his 16 year-old sister to prom. The siblings went to this Waffle House location afterwards where there apparently was an argument inside with staff, leading to law enforcement being called.

Video Credit: Official Joseph Bonner via YouTube.

Wall, who said, “I was pretty much trying to scream for air and to breathe” was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for arguing with a Waffle House employee. Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland said his officers aren’t trained for such situations as we have seen on this video. Nonetheless, an investigation is being conducted. Southerland added, “I wish people wouldn’t blow things out of proportion and not let one situation create any additional situations.”

The SBI is now investigating whether the Warsaw officer used appropriate or excessive force during the arrest of the young black man late Friday night. The 22 year old Anthony Wall was arrested on two misdemeanor charges that night, one for disorderly conduct in a public place and resisting a police officer. It still isn’t quite clear what exactly prompted the officer’s use of force. The video above shows the officer, who is nearly three times the size of the young man, slamming him against a window, spinning him around and gripping his neck and then pinning him to the ground with his face on the curb of the pavement.

Today in an official press release from the Fourth District Prosecutor DA Ernie Lee, the investigation is being conducted by the NC State Bureau of Investigations. Chief Southerland contacted DA Lee for assistance in this matter. Governor Roy Cooper who has not yet seen the video, agreed that the SBI should look into the arrest. Meanwhile in Warsaw, Mayor A.J. Connors, an African-American man, said people need to be patient and let the system work. “I want the public to understand this is not a racially motivated issue,” Mayor Connor continued. “This was just a young man who broke the law and a law enforcement officer arrested him. Unfortunately physical contact took place because he refused to follow the law.” The official press release from DA Lee is as follows:

On the afternoon of May 9, 2018, I was contacted by Chief Eric Southerland of the Warsaw Police Department and made aware of an incident that occurred on May 4, 2018 in Warsaw, North Carolina. At 3:44 p.m. on May 9, 2018, Chief Southerland of the Warsaw Police Department contacted me. Prior to contacting me, Chief Southerland made contact with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on May 9, 2018 to investigate this matter. On May 9, 2018, I joined with Chief Southerland and requested the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation investigate this matter. I made my request on May 9, 2018 by telephone with the SBI and on May 10, 2018, I requested in writing of the SBI to investigate this incident.

At 4:39 p.m. on May 10, 2018 per my request, I received a report from the Warsaw Police Department reference this incident and have reviewed the same. This incident occurred at a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina. At approximately 11:27 p.m. on May 4, 2018, officers of the Warsaw Police Department responded to a call about an alleged fight in progress at the Waffle House. On May 4, 2018, Anthony Wall, age 22 years, of Fayetteville, North Carolina was charged by the Warsaw Police Department with disorderly conduct in public and resisting, obstructing and delaying a law enforcement officer. After going before the magistrate, Wall was released to the custody of his mother. As in all criminal cases, all charged individuals are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Per my request, this matter is being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Ernie Lee
District Attorney

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