Editor’s Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10pm ET.
Randi Kaye| BIO
Is it a classic case of “he said, she said,” or is it a brutal case of racism? Whatever it is, it may land a Missouri woman, a preacher’s daughter who has never been in trouble with the law before, in jail.
It all apparently started at a Walmart store in Kennett, Missouri where according to police, customer Heather Ellis had cut in line to pay for her items. What followed is at the heart of a court case that may send Heather Ellis to jail for as many as 15 years!
Let me first say Ms. Ellis has pleaded not guilty. But here’s how police tell it: officers say they were called to the store after Ellis caused a “disturbance” at the cash register by “yelling and cursing.” Officers say when they tried to get her to leave the store, she turned and yelled at them, “I ain’t going nowhere until I get my (expletive) change back” but that even after she got her change, she continued to be “belligerent.” The lead officer says they tried to get her to remain calm and leave in a peaceful manner and told her they’d arrest her if she refused. That is when the lead officer says Ellis “issued a threat to assault” and said if the officer put their hands on her “she was going to beat my (expletive).” Well, it turned ugly according to police, who say she became “combative and began fighting.” The officers say Ellis “continued to fight, yell and curse” and was “completely out of control.” They say she “resisted arrest” and “stiffened her body” when they tried to put her in the police car. Read the full police report here.
“Outta My Way, I’m shopping at Wal-Mart.”
That actual bumper-sticker sums up the attitude of the only thing worse than Wal-Mart in our culture: Wal-Mart shoppers.
Law enforcement officials are reviewing the video tape of the incident for possible criminal charges, but Wal-Mart corporate attorneys are no doubt looking at the video to determine the extent of the company’s legal liability in the case. The retailer may be more preoccupied with how to prevent a multi-million lawsuit from the family of the dead worker, than how to prevent another Black Friday death. [...]
The 2,000 or so Wal-Mart shoppers at the Valley Stream store were merely lab rats responding to a stimulus. When the door opened, they went after the cheese [...]