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See what led to Popeyes worker body-slamming customer, 55, causing broken leg, six broken ribs

Daily Mail
(Video screenshots/Columbia Police Department mugshot)

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The real Popeye was a hero, not a thug …

Last Tuesday in Columbia, Tennessee, a brutish Popeyes store manager, Deriance Ra’Shaiel Hughes, 29, ran up on a 55-year-old female customer outside the store and then proceeded to slam her to the ground, fracturing her elbow, her ribs and her left leg.

Luckily for his victim, Debra Staggs, the entire altercation was caught on camera.

Watch (*Language warning):


(Source: Daily Mail)

All this reportedly occurred over $13.11 …

“[Staggs] had eaten at Popeyes on Sunday, paying $13.11 for a meal of corn, biscuits, chicken tenders and apple pies. When she returned home, she noticed she had been billed twice,” The Tennessean reported on Saturday. “She called the manager, who told her to come back to the restaurant with documentation in order to get a refund.”

What happened next when she returned to the store two days later remains a bit murky.

According to Staggs’ attorney, Rocky McElhaney, Hughes immediately acted hostile.

“When she got there she was treated with hostility and anger from the manager,” he reportedly said. “There were words back and forth.”

Additional video evidence from inside the store shows Hughes yelling at Staggs like a maniac. However, the video also contains audio footage of someone off-camera complaining about Staggs’ alleged use of the n-word.

“You are in the wrong place saying the n-word,” the unidentified bystander says.

Watch the additional footage below:

Nowhere in the video clip can Staggs actually be heard saying the n-word, though McElhaney has suggested that she may have indeed uttered it in the heat of the moment.

“My client was called ‘an ugly broke-down cracker,'” he said to The Tennessean. “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 … She’s a mixture of sad and angry right now. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.”

Staggs suffered nine fractures, six cracked ribs and a broken knee. She reportedly underwent surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Friday. Her condition as of Sunday remains unclear.

Hughes meanwhile was arrested Friday afternoon by the Columbia Police Department and charged with felony aggravated assault, which in Tennessee is reportedly punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Arrest Made in Aggravated Assault Investigation

Today, November 8th, 2019, Detectives with Columbia Police Department…

Posted by Columbia Police Department, Tennessee on Friday, November 8, 2019

Others may reportedly be charged as well. While the authorities declined to explain why, evidence suggests the reason may involve Mike Helms, a customer who tried recording the incident but had his phone slammed out of his hand.

“There was a big screaming and shouting match. I broke out my phone and was going to record and one of the workers came and grabbed my phone out of my hand,” he said to Nashville station WSMV, adding that the employee tried to chuck his phone to the ground.

As for Hughes, he’s also been fired from Popeyes.

“These actions run completely contrary to our standards and the integrity of our brand,” a spokesperson said in a statement to local media. “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.”

The non-fatal incident at the Tennessee Popeyes comes amid a flurry of both non-fatal and fatal altercations that have rocked the fast food chain’s stores across the nation.

Just a day before this incident occurred, in fact, a man was stabbed to death at a Popeyes in Maryland. That same day in Los Angeles, a woman accidentally damaged her Mercedes Benz while trying to cut in to a drive-through line at her local Popeyes.

Watch:

But there’s more …

Over in San Antonio on Tuesday, a Popeyes employee and customer reportedly got into a food tray fight.

And over in Los Angeles again, a Popeyes employee was reportedly caught this week selling chicken sandwiches on the side for extra pocket money.

These never-ending incidents have some demanding that Popeyes get its act together — and not just because the restaurant always seems to be out of its infamous chicken sandwiches.

Note: Popeyes isn’t actually named after Popeye the Sailor. It’s reportedly named after detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle from the movie “The French Connection.”

Vivek Saxena

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