Woman, 55, body slammed at Popeyes in Tennessee

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A 55-year-old woman was body-slammed Tuesday by a Popeyes employee in the parking lot of a Tennessee restaurant.

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Debra Staggs, 55, went into the restaurant to dispute a receipt, WSMV reported. When she walked out of the store, an employee followed her, picked her up and slammed her into the parking lot, video shows.


Staggs suffered nine fractures, six cracked ribs and a broken knee, WSMV reported. She has undergone multiple surgeries and is expected to have an extensive recovery.

What led to the altercation is unclear.

A video posted from inside the restaurant shows a man telling Staggs not to use a racial slur, however, she can not be heard saying one in the recording.

"If she said something she should not have said in retaliation and the heat of the moment we do not condone that and she regrets that, but it does not give someone the right to break somebody's body almost in half," her attorney Rocky McElhaney told The Tennessean.

Employee Deriance Ra’Shaiel Hughes, 29, is seen in the video yelling at Staggs from across the counter. A manager asks Staggs multiple times to leave.

"You got your money, now get out before I call the law on you and forcibly remove you," a manager tells Staggs in the video.

Staggs, whose son is a state trooper, responds: "Lady, the law is my family."

Staggs then leaves the restaurant. Hughes then follows Staggs into the parking lot grabs her from behind and slams her into the asphalt, The Tennessean reported.

Hughes was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, according to Columbia police. Investigators could file additional charges against another person as well.

Popeyes did not comment to The Tennessean. The restaurant closed mid-afternoon Friday after police responded about another incident there between employees, WSMV reported.

The incident is not the first violent attack at a Popeyes recently.

A customer and employee were seen on video throwing trays at each other at a San Antonio restaurant last week. A man was fatally stabbed for cutting in line at a Maryland Popeyes, last week.