Wal-Mart arrest could head to trial

November 17th, 2009 - 2:04 am ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

St. Louis, Nov 16 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Heather Ellis switched checkout lines at a southeast Missouri Wal-Mart store three years ago and it simply changed her life. That day a dispute began that reeks of racism too, and if the case goes to trial then heather Ellis could also be looking at a prison sentence for 15 years.

‘Witnesses have told authorities that Ellis cut in front of waiting customers at the Wal-Mart in Kennett on Jan. 6, 2007, shoved merchandise already placed on a conveyor belt out of the way, and became belligerent when confronted’, according to court filings.

Ellis however claims that she was only joining her cousin, whose checkout line was moving faster. She claimed in a written complaint to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that she was mistreated all over. As she was then pushed by a white customer, hassled by store employees, called racial slurs and even physically mistreated by Kennett police officers.

Officer A.W. Fisher wrote in a probable cause statement that Ellis was given “every opportunity” to listen to the police officers and leave the store. He said that she even swore at him and was very violent when she was being arrested.

“Incidents involving our customers are unfortunate and we take them seriously,” Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said in a statement earlier this month. “In this matter, there was a disturbance and law enforcement was contacted, in accordance with our normal procedures. The police then determined how to proceed.”

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