Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter has called for a Waffle House boycott following a series of disturbing incidents involving law enforcement and the chain’s black patrons.
Dr. Bernice King took to social made to make the request, urging her Twitter followers to avoid Waffle House locations until its executives properly addressed the racially tinged controversies.
King tweeted: “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.”
Calls for a boycott surged after a video posted to social media showed a white officer choking a young black man at a Waffle House in North Carolina. The incident occurred shortly after the man—22-year-old Anthony Wall—had taken his 16-year-old sister to prom.
The incident occurred after Wall got into an argument with restaurant employees, who allegedly cursed at Wall and his sister for sitting at a booth that had not been cleaned. The Hill reports one of the employees then called the police, resulting in Wall’s violent arrest.
“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,” Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland told the Raleigh News and Observer. “In real versus training situations, moves don't always work out like you want them to.”
The arresting officer is now under investigation.
Warning, the below video is graphic.
King also called attention to a lesser-known incident involving a black woman at an Alabama Waffle House. On April 22, three white officers wrestled Chikesia Clemon to the ground before placing a hand on her throat and threatening to break her arm. The arrest was also captured on video.
According to AL.com, the incident stemmed from a dispute between Clemons and a Waffle House employee. Clemon’s mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told the publication that the argument started after an employee told them they had to pay for extra plasticware. After the mother and daughter informed the staff member they were never charged for utensils in previous visits, the employee canceled their order. It was at this time that Clemons requested the district manager’s contact information.
“They didn't even ask her to leave, she was waiting for them to give her the district manager's card so she could file a complaint on one of the waitresses,” Clemons-Howard said. “When they went to go get the card, that's when the police showed up. The officer should've come in and said we need you to leave.”