In a surprising turn of events, the black mayor of Warsaw, North Carolina is defending one of his white officers, who was shown on cell phone video choking a black man outside of a Waffle House.
In a video posted online, Mayor A.J. Connors, who is also a pastor, said the unidentified officer had been trying to subdue the man when things escalated, and his actions were not racially motivated.
Anthony Wall, the 22-year old seen in the video, had just taken his sister to prom and was at a Waffle House when witnesses say he started arguing with employees (which can be seen below). He then started a fight, causing police to be called.
In the viral video going viral, Wall is shown being choked, but the longer version shows just before that, the officer tried to subdue his arms, but Wall fought back, wringing free and refusing to stay calm. It was then that the officer resorted to the choke hold.
Mayor Connors acknowledges the officer’s situation, but says it appears he was justified in subduing Wall with a choke hold.
The mayor of a North Carolina town said Friday that an incident involving a white police officer choking and slamming a black man to the ground was not “racially motivated.”
Warsaw, N.C., Mayor A.J. Connors on Friday defended the town’s police after a video showing the incident went viral.
“This is not a racially motivated issue,” Connors said in a video posted to Facebook on Friday, according to The Washington Post and Raleigh’s The News & Observer. “This was just a young man who had broken the law and a law enforcement officer arrested him.”
Here is the initial reporting of the incident, showing video from the night of the incident.
He noted that “unfortunately physical contact took place” but asked viewers to put aside preconceptions and “quit calling the police department and making threats.”
Anthony Wall, the 22-year-old man in the video, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at a Waffle House after attending his sister’s prom.
A separate video shows Wall yelling at restaurant staff before the police were called. He told the local ABC affiliate that he is responsible for his actions, but said the officer acted too forcefully.
“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,” Wall said.
Police said that they have launched an investigation of the incident.
Here is the mayor’s statement.