Jury deliberating after defendant testifies in Walmart line cutting case - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jury deliberating after defendant testifies in Walmart line cutting case

KENNETT, MO (WMC-TV) - Friday, a jury began deliberating the fate of a woman at the center of a racially charged line-cutting controversy.

During court Friday, Heather Ellis spent nearly two hours telling jurors her version of what happened the day nearly three years ago when she got into an argument over a place in line at the Kennett Walmart.

While several prosecution witnesses testified this week that Ellis cut in front of waiting customers and shoved merchandise already placed on a conveyor belt out of the way, Ellis told the court she was just joining her cousin, whose checkout line was moving more quickly.

According to Ellis, the cashier refused to check her out.  Ellis also testified that she was pushed by a white customer and hassled by store employees.  In her testimony, Ellis said Kay McDaniel, an assistant manager at the store, started yelling "get out of my store." 

Ellis said she was also called racial slurs and was physically mistreated by Kennett police officers.  Ellis said officer Albert Fisher told her, "look at this stupid b*****. I better never catch you around here again.  Go back to the ghetto."

Ellis testified that officers followed her out of the store. As she walking to her car, she said, Fisher grabbed her from behind and flung her body around.  Ellis said she began screaming for help when officers began pulling her fake hair and choking her.  She added that officers banged her head on the back of the police car.

Meanwhile, prosecutors maintains Ellis refused to calm down and leave the property, and that she kicked one officer in the shin and split another officer's lip.

The jury began deliberating the case late Friday afternoon.  If convicted, Ellis faces a maximum sentence of 15 years.

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