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Another employee, victim now charged with assault in Popeyes fight

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 08:33:36-05

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two more people, including the victim, have been charged with assault after an incident at a Maury County Popeyes.

The assault happened back in November at the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Nashville Highway. According to police, Cheteka Miller, an employee, and Deborah Staggs, the victim, are now both charged with assault.

A police report said Staggs was disputing a previous purchase when a verbal fight turned physical. During the altercation, police said Miller hit Staggs in the head with her hand. Another police report for Staggs' arrest shows she kicked Miller in the stomach.

Investigators said the incident was captured on video.

Columbia Police officers responded to a disturbance at the fast food restaurant on November 5.

Cell phone video of the incident shows the woman walking out of the restaurant. One of the workers follows her out, bear hugging her from behind. He then can be seen lifting her up and then throwing her to the ground.

Staggs' attorney, Rocky McElhaney says he was able to obtain video that shows the employees with Popeyes lied to police before and after the assault.

"You hear the lies and see what really happens," said McElhany.

In the video McElhany provided us you can hear an employee call 911 saying, "There's a drunken lady in here acting a plum fool." McElhany says camera footage shows Staggs walking in the restaurant calmly. He also pointed out what he calls a lie when an employee told emergency dispatch that Staggs fell over a stump when in fact he said she was body slammed.

"We’re trying to hold them accountable, so other people don’t get treated like this in the future," he said.

The lawsuit claims gross negligence or reckless conduct and seeks 750-thousand dollars. We reached out to Popeyes corporate for comment.

WARNING: This video contains violence a may contain graphic language. (It was edited to remove most graphic language.)

Back in November, video posted to social media appeared to show the moments before the assault. Workers could be seen demanding the woman leave the restaurant, but she refused. Claims were also made that she used a racial slur when arguing with the workers.

The argument continued outside and she was thrown to the ground. One of the workers, 29-year-old Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes, was arrested and charged in the case.

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