A US woman is facing months of painful recovery after being slammed to the ground outside a fast-food restaurant in the US state of Tennessee, allegedly after using the n-word during a heated argument with staff.

Debra Staggs, 55, was left with a broken leg, six broken ribs and nine fractures in her elbow after the brutal assault, which was captured on camera.

29-year-old Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes has been arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault after the video of the incident went viral.

The dispute began when Staggs returned to the branch of Popeyes Chicken in Columbia, Tennessee, to dispute the bill she received for a takeaway order.


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Video shows Staggs arguing with staff and is accused of using the n-word, though the video doesn't show her using the word.

As the argument escalates she is repeatedly asked to leave the store but refuses.

The man filming is heard to say: "You are in the wrong place saying the n-word."

Separate video shot from outside then shows Stagg being forcibly removed before she is picked up and slammed violently to the ground.

Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes, 29, has been charged with felony aggravated assault. Photo / Supplied
Deriance Ra'Shaiel Hughes, 29, has been charged with felony aggravated assault. Photo / Supplied

Stagg's lawyer Rocky McElhaney said that his client denied using the racial slur and claims she was verbally attacked.

"My client was called 'an ugly broke-down cracker'," he told The Tennessean. The video does not capture this, either.

"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."


A spokesperson for Popeyes said: "These actions run completely contrary to our standards and the integrity of our brand.

"Following an investigation, the franchisee took immediate action and we were informed that the employee has since been terminated. The entire circumstance is highly unfortunate for all involved and we hope to never see this type of behaviour again."