If you drive about 150 miles northwest of Chattanooga, you will come to Columbia, the fast-growing seat of Maury County. The city of about 40,000 residents is where an incident at a fast food restaurant is getting widespread media attention.
Video of the encounter shows a Popeyes employee body-slamming a woman in the parking lot outside the restaurant. The 55-year-old woman allegedly directed racial slurs at Popeyes workers before walking outside where she was confronted and slammed to the pavement. The 29-year-old employee is in jail after being charged with aggravated assault, a felony.
According to news reports, the woman sustained a fractured knee and six broken ribs in the incident. Her attorney says she denies using the N-word in the encounter.
A cellphone video taken inside the restaurant shows several agitated employees in a heated exchange with the woman. Cross-talk between the workers and woman makes it impossible to understand what is being said, but a man off-camera can be heard saying to the woman that she’s “in the wrong place saying the N-word.”
Video taken outside the restaurant shows the woman being lifted up and then slammed down to the pavement.
According to a Nashville news report, law enforcement officials have said store surveillance video also shows the incident. They said an investigation is ongoing and that it is possible that they will make more arrests.
In Tennessee, a conviction on a Class C aggravated assault charge can result in a sentence of up to 15 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. A Class D aggravated assault conviction can mean up to 12 years in a Tennessee state prison.