A white woman called a Popeyes employee a "n****r" and was followed out of the restaurant and slammed to the ground. 

Fifty-five-year-old Deborah Staggs was trying to dispute a charge on her bill at a chain in Columbia, Tennessee. The conversation quickly escalated into a heated argument, with multiple employees trying to get the woman to leave and pacify both parties. According to Tennessean.com, after ordering from the chain, Staggs realized she'd been charged twice for the meal when she got home. 

She re-entered the restaurant with a belligerent attitude and began referring to the predominantly Black staff as "n****rs." The encounter was captured on video and posted to Twitter on Saturday. 



“You in the wrong place to be saying the n-word,” a man can be heard, off camera. 

A woman, who seems to be the manager, was fed up with the unruly patron and threatened to call the police. 

“Now get out before I call the law on you and forcefully remove you,” she said. 

“Lady the law is my family,” Staggs woman replied. 

Another video posted to Twitter, which has now gone viral, shows Staggs walking out, followed by multiple restaurant employees. One man comes up from behind her, grabs her by the waist and slams her down to the floor. The video shows the man standing over her, shouting while she moans in pain. 


The employee, 29-year-old, Deriance Hughes, was arrested last week and is now facing aggravated assault charges. The woman’s attorney, Rocky McElhaney, said her words didn't necessitate Hughes’ actions.

"If she said something that she regrets, it doesn't give a grown man the right to chase her into the parking lot as she is trying to leave the store, and body slam a 55-year-old grandmother down on the concrete," McElhaney said. 

The assault left Staggs with nine fractures, including a broken knee and six broken ribs. She has undergone two surgeries and will need rehabilitation. 

The woman denies using the racial slur and was allegedly called a cracker. 

“My client was called 'an ugly broke-down cracker,’” McElhaney said. "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."

In a statement, Columbia police said others may also be charged.