The District Attorney’s Office is wading through a wealth of information collected by state investigators detailing a May 4 arrest at the Waffle House in Warsaw. A Warsaw Police officer’s use of force has been put under a microscope after a video went viral showing the officer grabbing a 22-year-old man by the throat and pinning him to the ground to subdue him.
District Attorney Ernie Lee, who represents Sampson, Duplin, Jones and Onslow counties, said Tuesday afternoon that his office had received the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) report on the May 4 use of force case at the Waffle House, located on N.C. 24 near Interstate 40, not far from the Sampson-Duplin line.
Lee said the report “is substantial in length.” The report, videos and any other evidence provided by the SBI will now be reviewed by Assistant District Attorney Arneatha Gillis and Lee.
“I was in contact with the SBI at 5:27 p.m. (Tuesday) and the SBI has in its possession numerous videos that will be provided to this office as well. I do not have those videos at this time, but anticipate those very soon,” Lee said in a prepared statement Tuesday evening. “This office will make and announce any decisions after thoroughly reviewing the evidence and consulting with the SBI.”
The SBI probe was launched after video circulated on social media showing Warsaw Police Officer Frank Moss grabbing 22-year-old Anthony Wall in the neck area and pinning him to the ground in the Waffle House parking lot. Wall was dressed in formal attire, having reportedly escorted his sister to prom.
Moss responded to the Waffle House after an employee hit the panic alarm due to a verbal altercation between Wall and the restaurant’s servers. Wall was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
A video posted to Facebook on May 8, four days after the arrest, was widely circulated on various social media platforms and national news sites, including the New York Post.
The officer was quickly identified by various media outlets as Moss, who is shown in the cell phone video grabbing Wall by the throat before wrestling him to the pavement in an attempt to subdue him. As Wall is on the ground, his head wedged against the curb, Moss has one hand on Wall’s right wrist and the other on his face, instructing him several times to put his hands behind his back. Wall repeatedly says “get your hands off of me.”
Lee previously said he was made aware of the May 4 incident on May 9 when contacted by Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland.