A video posted to Facebook in May showed a North Carolina police officer choking a young man wearing a tuxedo and slamming him to the ground at a Waffle House.
On Thursday, Anthony Wall, 22, of Fayetteville, was found guilty of resisting arrest by Judge Mario Perez, according to multiple reports.
An investigation into Officer Frank Moss found “no excessive force” was used against Wall and Moss was never charged, the State Bureau of Investigation told The News & Observer on Thursday.
A charge of disorderly conduct against Wall was dismissed Thursday.
Wall was sentenced to a 20-day suspended sentence, on supervised probation for 18 months and 40 hours of community service. Wall also will be required to attend an anger management assessment and is not permitted on Waffle House property during his probation, Duplin County court officials told the N&O on Thursday.
“On the witness stand, Officer Moss testified when he was unable to physically contain Wall, he placed his hand on Wall’s throat, pressing in with his thumb at a known weak spot,” WITN reported. “Moss said the tactic was part of his law enforcement training.”
“It’s not what you’re trained to do in incidents like this but when you’re dealing with someone fighting and resisting against an officer, you try to use proper tactics and go for one move, but that might not work because that person is moving or the officer is moving,” Southerland told the N&O in May. “In real versus training situations, moves don’t always work out like you want them to.”
Moss said in court that his body camera was not activated the night he arrested Wall. He said the camera being off was not intentional, WITN reported.
Judge Mario Perez said the incident “could have been avoided if Wall had only calmed down,” according to WNCT.
On May 9, Wall told the N&O that he had taken his 16-year-old sister to prom the night of May 5 and that they headed to Waffle House after. He said he and his sister argued with Waffle House employees and the police were called.
The argument began when a Waffle House employee cursed at people in his group after they sat at a table that had not been cleaned yet, Wall told the N&O in May.
It was unclear from the video that emerged after the incident why Wall was choked or slammed by Moss. The video did not show anything before the physical altercation. Wall had his arms raised above his head before the officer began to choke him.
Wall said that his head and back were injured in the altercation and he had a cut on his arm. The video shows him struggling on the ground while the officer tries to put him in handcuffs, according to a previous N&O report.
Warsaw Mayor A.J. Connors defended Moss in May and said that the incident was not racially motivated.
Waffle House also released a statement, saying that the waitress who called 911, leading to Wall’s arrest, also was not a “race” issue.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund demanded that video of the incident be released. Civil Rights lawyers representing Wall also called for video to be released from the restaurant and Moss’ dashcam footage.
More video released to the N&O by Kaia Johnson, who said she was at Waffle House the night Wall was arrested, offers more information about what happened inside the restaurant that night.
“Johnson’s SnapChat clips show a loud, heated and explicit argument between Anthony Wall, his 16-year-old sister and Waffle House employees,” the N&O previously reported.
But Johnson’s clips don’t show what started the argument, and Wall’s attorneys said what sparked everything were homophobic slurs directed at Wall by Waffle House employees.
The Warsaw Police Department received phone calls and social media messages, some of which were threats against Moss, said Glenn Barfield, an attorney representing the officer.
Calls to 911 from the Waffle House shed more light on the incident inside the restaurant.
“I’m calling the police. ... We need the police officer at Waffle House, uh, we got a riot going on, and I mean quick,” an employee told 911.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, reacted to the News & Observer report of Wall’s arrest by calling for people to avoid Waffle House until it commits to employee training and other changes.
In a tweet on May 10, King wrote: “Family, let’s stay out of Waffle House until the corporate office legitimately and seriously commits to 1. discussion on racism, 2. employee training and 3. other plans to change; and until they start to implement changes.”