A North Texas veteran says he fears for his life. Ernest Walker moved his family out of their home in Ovilla, Texas after receiving racially-charged threats.
WFAA-TV viewers may have seen Walker before. He is the same veteran who received an apology from Chili's restaurant after a worker denied him a free meal on Veteran's Day.
“We’re afraid,” Walker said. “My wife is terrified.”
The Army veteran said he and his family have been the targets of anonymous threats ever since Walker decided to speak out about how he was treated at Chili’s in Cedar Hill on Veterans Day.
“We’ve received phone calls, and it’s always a restricted line,” Walker explained. “People are saying, ‘hey, we know where you live.’”
Video showing a now-former Chili’s manager taking away Walker’s complimentary Veteran’s Day meal has been viewed more than one million times.
Walker said the confrontation happened after an elderly customer, who was dressed in a Trump T-shirt, began questioning his military service and complained to management. The Pentagon has confirmed his veteran status.
Walker said the threats to harm him and his family have been coming by phone, by mail and online.
“We had to protect ourselves,” Walker explained, “so, we had to leave. We had to take our dog away from the house, because there was threats against our dog.”
Walker said he and his wife moved out of their home about a week-and-a-half ago. He calls it a safety decision after a Dallas media agency published his address.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt, Sr. is one of the attorneys representing Walker.
“In putting himself out there, he is going to be under constant scrutiny,” Merritt said. “He is exposed to attacks from people who don’t agree with his way of thinking.”
Walker said he is more focused now more than ever on turning this moment into a mission to help other veterans.
He and his supporters are hosting a free luncheon for vets next month.
“This country right now is wounded,” said Walker. “There needs to be a healing process. For the people that reached out to me from all different colors, races, creeds and religions, that let me know there is hope for this country.”