Bernice King Called Out Waffle House For Its "Racism" Problem Against Black Customers
On Thursday morning, Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King called out Waffle House on Twitter over recent violent incidents against black customers at its restaurants. The famous civil rights activist's daughter tweeted a link to a News and Observer report about a police officer choking and slamming a young black man named Anthony Wall at the restaurant in Warsaw, North Carolina. Her second tweet brought up Chikesia Clemons' violent arrest at a Waffle House in April.
In her first tweet, King wrote, "Family, let’s stay out of @WaffleHouse 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." Bustle has reached out to Waffle House for comment.
The incident involving Wall took place on May 5 and was caught on video. It sparked widespread outrage on social media and it's currently being investigated by the Warsaw Police Department and District Attorney Ernie Lee.
The News and Observer report linked to the video that Wall posted on Facebook that depicted the disturbing scenario. In the video, the police officer — who has not been identified so far — is seen putting 22-year-old Wall into a chokehold and slamming him to the concrete ground.
According to the News and Observer, Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland confirmed that the police officer was affiliated with the Warsaw police. When he was asked if the officer's behavior reflected what was being taught at the department, the police chief said "no."
"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 News and Observer. "In real versus training situations, moves don't always work out like you want them to."
Southerland also told News and Observer, "We are aware of the video and currently working on an investigation, following up based on the video posted, doing interviews, gathering video evidence."
At this moment, it is unclear who called the police on Wall, who was present at the restaurant with his 16-year-old sister. Wall told News and Observer that he was at Waffle House after he took his sibling to prom.
While speaking to ABC11, Wall said, "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 that he kept his hands in the air; ABC11 reported that the young man had been charged with resisting arrest and disorder for a reported argument with Waffle House workers.
King subsequently tweeted about Clemons' arrest by police at a Waffle House in Alabama on April 22. Clemons — whose breasts were reportedly exposed as a result of the arrest — was accused of and later on charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. In spite of criticism from observers, Waffle House defended its employees for reporting Clemons to the Saraland Police Department, which also defended its method.
In a company statement, Waffle House said, "Previously, we stated that upon reviewing security video and eyewitness statements, it was our belief that our associates calling the police was necessary and appropriate" and added, "In the days since, we have gathered additional details and information. Witnesses say several threats were made to our associates including threats of violence, and that’s why the police were called."
But King called Waffle House out one more time. "A @WaffleHouse employee called the police on #ChikesiaClemons after she asked for the number for the corporate office. Ms. Clemons was violated by police. Her breasts were exposed. It barely garnered national attention," she wrote.
"Do #BlackLivesMatter?" King asked. "Do #BlackWomenMatter?"