A video that shows a Warsaw, North Carolina, police officer putting 22-year-old Anthony Wall in a chokehold and wrestling him to the ground outside a Waffle House set off social media outrage this week for what many argue was an unjustified level of violence.
Wall had taken his younger sister to prom last Saturday and they stopped at Waffle House to grab a bite to eat. He got into a heated argument with restaurant employees before the police were called ― local news affiliate ABC11 posted a brief clip of the dispute.
At least one officer responded to the call.
The video ― which was taken by a bystander and publicly posted to Wall’s Facebook page ― does not reveal how his encounter with the police began. It ended with the officer nearly lifting Wall off the ground by his neck before pushing him to the ground and attempting to pull his arms behind his back.
On social media, people have suggested the video captures a racially motivated use of force by a white officer against a young black man. A call and email to the Warsaw Police Department were not immediately returned Thursday.
In the video, Wall appeared to have trouble drawing his breath at some moments.
“I was pretty much trying to scream for air and trying to breathe because he was holding my throat, and that’s when I got aggressive with him because you are choking me,” he told ABC11.
Wall takes responsibility for the indoor spat but is critical of law enforcement’s response outside the Waffle House. “Your hands should have never been around my neck like that if my hands were in the air,” he told the station.
Wall was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
On Tuesday, he posted the footage on his Facebook page, where it has racked up 575,000 views and nearly 30,000 shares as of Thursday. HuffPost was not immediately able to contact him.
According to ABC11, both the Warsaw Police Department and Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee are investigating the incident and plan to report their findings to the public.
Reacting to the response the video has garnered, Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland told the Charlotte News & Observer, “I wish people would not blow things out of proportion and not let one situation create any additional situations.”
Another Waffle House incident involving a customer received national media attention late last month when a black woman was thrown to the ground and threatened as a white officer tried to arrest her.