(Photo Credit: Maria Boynton/Entercom Atlanta)

March On Waffle House Headquarters Planned For Friday

Incidents with police "victim-blaming at its most dangerous"

Maria Boynton
June 13, 2018 - 3:11 pm

When community groups and national activists descend upon the headquarters of Waffle House in Norcross (GA) at 10 a.m. this Friday, it'll be just as the company has opened for business. It's the operations at the company's restaurants nationwide that activists have been trying to impact since the world saw the viral video of a black woman being wrestled to the floor and arrested by 3 white police officers in Saraland, Alabama. Rallies and sit-ins have been staged at various restaurants. Protests have also been staged at the headquarters in Gwinnett County, which is just outside Atlanta.

It happened on April 22, 2018. Chikesia Clemons, 25, says she simply asked for plastic ware with which to eat her food. It was at that moment, she says, that a night out turned into something totally unexpected. She tells WAOK/V103's Maria Boynton that she and a girlfriend were told it would cost them 50 cents for the plastics. The employee, "and one of my friends kept going back and forth" about why they'd have to pay. Clemons says she asked for a manager, and then a telephone number to corporate, and that's when it escalated and the police were called. Clemons says, the police came in, "hands on, no questions asked." In the video Clemons is heard asking "what did I do?" The police are heard threatening to break her arm. Her shirt is pulled down. Her breasts are exposed.

Waffle House says its employee did the right thing in calling the police. 

And then, just 2 weeks later, another video surfaced. This time it was of a white police officer with his hand around the throat of 22 year old Anthony Wall, a black man, in a tuxedo. They were outside a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina. Wall claims he was called homophobic names by employees of the restaurant after he asked that a table be cleaned. He says the police officer, who choked, slammed him against a wall and handcuffed him, also called him names.

Dr. Bernice King, youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., called for a nationwide boycott of the restaurants.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump says they want all charges dropped against Clemons and a public apology from the police and Waffle House. In the Wall case, Crump says they want the restaurant surveillance video, along with police body cam and dashcam video. Another Wall attorney, Allen Rogers, tells Boynton that his client is having to undergo chiropractic treatment for what happened to him on the night of Saturday, May 5, 2018. He says that Wall is also under the care of a medical doctor and a therapist.

Attorney Allen Rogers Talks with Maria Boynton

Activist Tamika Mallory, in the same interview with Clemons, says of the video, "I did not see any behavior that would warrant police officers coming in, de-robing and assaulting Chikesia Clemons." Reports following the Saraland incident indicated that witnesses stated that someone in Clemons' party had threatened to return and shoot up the restaurant. Clemons says "it didn't happen." Mallory calls it "a bold lie", adding, each time these situations happen, "there's an attempt to criminalize the victim. There's an attempt to make up stories to make the aggressor look good and to make the victim to look as though she did something wrong to deserve to be abused."

Mallory is co-President of Women's March, which along with National Black Justice Coalition, are organizing Friday's protest outside Waffle House headquarters at 5986 Financial Dr. NW, in Norcross, GA.