Popeyes Employee Fired After Body Slamming Customer Who Allegedly Said N-Word

A Popeyes employee in Tennessee is out of a job days after he allegedly body-slammed a customer in the parking lot after she reportedly said the N-word.

Deriance Ra’Shaiel Hughes was fired after the Tuesday (Nov. 5) incident outside a Popeyes in Columbia, the company told the New York Post on Wednesday (Nov. 13). 

The 29-year-old employee was caught on video arguing with a customer, who was reportedly requesting a refund after allegedly being overcharged during a previous visit to the restaurant. 

The customer, Debra Staggs, a white woman, allegedly called employees “n****s” several times before she was followed outside of the restaurant by a group of employees and customers. 

“You in the wrong place saying the n-word,” one customer could be heard saying in the video. 

Once outside, Hughes, who is Black, can allegedly be seen lifting the 55-year-old woman in the air and slamming her onto the pavement of the parking lot. 

“That’s what you get!” Hughes allegedly shouted while the woman laid on the pavement, the New York Post reports. 

Hughes was identified by police and arrested on Nov. 8. He faces charges of aggravated assault.

We were shocked to learn about what happened in Tennessee,” Popeyes said in a statement, the New York Post reports. “These actions run completely contrary to our standards and the integrity of our brand.” 

Staggs’ attorney said she suffered nine fractures in her elbow, six broken ribs and a broken left leg.

Her attorney, Rocky McElhaney, told The Tennessean that Staggs has undergone two surgeries and will require months of rehabilitation. 

According to McElhaney, the victim claims she ate at the that Popeyes location on Sunday (Nov. 3), one day before the attack, and noticed she was billed twice when she looked at the receipt after returning home, The Tennessean reports.

McElhaney added that Staggs called the manager, who told her to come back with the receipt to get a refund, The Tennessean reports. 

“When she got there she was treated with hostility and anger from the manager,” McElhaney told The Tennessean. “There were words back and forth.”

While the video did not capture her allegedly saying the N-word, McElhaney says Staggs denies using a racial slur.

“My client was called ‘an ugly broke-down cracker,’” he told 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.” 

He also told The Tennessean that after Staggs was assaulted, “nobody helped her. Nobody. Finally, someone called the ambulance.” 

The New York Post reports Popeyes added in their statement, “The entire circumstance is highly unfortunate for all involved and we hope to never see this type of behavior again.”

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