Videos show confrontation at Tennessee Popeyes that led to woman’s assault

U.S. & World

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – More sides of the story are coming out after a woman was bodyslammed outside a Popeyes Chicken Restaurant.  

Now we’re seeing the fight with restaurant employees before, and hearing from people who were inside. 

CPD said officers responded to the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Nov. 5 around 5:30 p.m. in the 800 block of Nashville Highway. They said they received calls of a disturbance and an assault.

Video shows a Popeyes employee slamming a woman onto the concrete in the parking lot.

Warning: graphic language

The woman allegedly assaulted, Deborah Staggs is being represented by Rocky McElhaney. He claims the woman has nine fractures, six broken ribs, and a broken knee.

McElhaney also says Staggs went to the restaurant to correct a double charge. The new video appears to show part of that encounter. The situation is clearly hostile.

A person in the video claims the woman used the “N-word.”

Warning: graphic language

McElhaney says if that happened, it’s no excuse to body slam her.

“If she resorted to retaliation with words and says something that she doesn’t believe in or wishes she hadn’t said, certainly we don’t condone that in our community. We’re a community of tolerance and of grace and forgiving,” said McElhaney. “But if she said something she regrets, it doesn’t give a grown man the right to chase her into the parking lot as she’s trying to leave the store, and slam a 55-year-old grandmother on the concrete.”

News 2 spoke to a woman who said she was fired from Popeyes because of what happened. She also said Staggs used the “N-word” and claimed she was violent.

“We escorted her out unharmed, she had all opportunity in the world to leave in peace- she did not,” said Cheteka Miller. “I tried to lock her out she opened the door, she kicked me and I did defend myself. I can’t account for Deriance maybe his anger got the best of him, ya know, and it’s just in the heat of the moment. He didn’t know his own strength, but the lady provoked the entire incident.”

Police identified the employee as 29-year-old Deriance R. Hughes. He was arrested Friday and charged with felony aggravated assault.

Popeyes says Hughes has since been fired and released this statement:

We were shocked to learn about what happened in Tennessee. These actions run completely contrary to our standards and the integrity of our brand. Following an investigation, the franchisee took immediate action and we were informed that the employee has since been terminated. The entire circumstance is highly unfortunate for all involved and we hope to never see this type of behavior again.

POPEYES CORPORATE

Police say more people could be charged as they investigate.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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