Fast food chain Popeye’s has made headlines once again - but this time it was not over its elusive chicken sandwich.
Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes, a 29-year-old Popeye’s employee in Columbia, Tennessee, was arrested Friday night and charged with aggravated assault after he chased down and body slammed a 55-year-old woman, who reportedly used several racial epithets and may have struck another individual.
According to Rocky McElhaney, the unnamed woman’s attorney, the entire incident started after she noticed she was charged twice for her order of chicken tenders.
Footage of the altercation was recorded by a man observing the spectacle from his car. Hughes is seen exiting the restaurant - with a number of employees following closely behind - and quickly grabs the woman from behind, lifts her up and slams her body onto the asphalt.
“Put your hands on my sister again!” the 29-year-old is overheard saying, possibly referencing a moment in which the woman allegedly struck his sibling while in the restaurant.
While the other employees appear unfazed by the woman’s groans and believe she is faking injuries, she was ultimately taken to the hospital and, according to her lawyer, has nine fractures in her elbow, a broken left leg and six broken ribs.
“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," McElhaney told the New York Daily News, adding that his client claimed she was called a “broken-down cracker.”
McElhaney said his client denies using any racial slurs, and additional footage that emerged shortly after the body slam went viral only shows the altercation after said language was allegedly used.
Hughes is seen inviting the woman to put her hands on him, to which she replies, “I wasn’t trying to hit no-f**king-body.” Despite the tense situation and multiple employees telling her to leave, the 55-year-old woman does not exit the restaurant and says she does not care if the cops are called because “half the law” is related to her.
The man recording the scene is also overheard warning her against saying the “N-word” at around the 29-second timestamp.
New video from inside a Popeyes restaurant in Columbia, Tenn. shows the moments before a woman is body slammed in the parking lot— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 9, 2019
As of Monday, the woman remains hospitalized, and Hughes is facing aggravated assault charges.
“She’s a mixture of sad and angry right now,” McElhaney said. “Nobody deserves to be treated like that.”