The Wal-Mart shoving incident: Who is lying?

Grenadier

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Reading this story shows two rather conflicting viewpoints on what happened.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/19/walmart.trial/index.html

The one thing everyone can agree on:

Kennett, Missouri (CNN) -- This much isn't in dispute: Heather Ellis cut in line at a Wal-Mart nearly three years ago.
But the accounts of what happened next vary, depending on whom you ask -- and has divided this economically struggling Missouri town of 11,000 along racial lines.

Ellis' claim:

Ellis, then a college student with no criminal history, said some white patrons shoved and hurled racial slurs at her when she switched checkout lines at Wal-Mart in January 2007.

Store employees refused to give her back her change and called police, she said.

And when she was taken outside to the parking lot, an officer allegedly told her to "Go back to the ghetto." Another roughed her up, she said.

However, this is significantly different than the witnesses and the police:

Witnesses and police offer a different take: Ellis was belligerent, shoving merchandise belonging to another customer to make way for hers on the conveyor belt, kicking one officer in the shin and splitting another's lip.

Who is more believable in this case?
 

LuckyKBoxer

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An ACLU official who viewed the footage called it "inconclusive." It captures the incident from one angle and shows a mass of people moving toward the police car after the initial confrontation, which wasn't caught on tape.

show me the footage and I can give you an answer that has some basis in reality... this statement right here leadsme to believe that..
a. there is clearly evidence that the woman was out of line..
b. there is probably a reason that footage mysteriously is not there..

anything anyone has to say either way here is based on pure fantasy as this article gives nothing to give anyone an informed conclusion.
 

zDom

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One thing is certain:

she changed lines and cut in front of other people at a retail store.

That's rude and unacceptable behavior, whatever else followed from that point. Behavior that is at odds with the Good Citizen she claims to be.
 

Carol

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Hmmm....Kennett, MO

http://www.bestplaces.net/city/Kennett-Missouri.aspx#

Small town on the Louisiana border. Economically disadvantaged. High crime. Underperforming schools.

A 19 year old black college student in a predominantly white town where few go to college is standing in one line when her 15 year old cousin is in another. When the cousin's line moves faster, she goes to her line. Is it a nice thing, no but....its also one of the many dumb things I did when I was 18 or 19.

She's engaged to a policeman, so she's probably not categorically anti-cop.

Her father has been a minister in the town for 33 years, so she has been the preacher's kid her whole life and well aware that anything she does in public will probably get back to dad one way or another.

2 years ago, the state offered her a plea bargain -- plead guilty and you won't see any jail time, you'll only get probation. She turned down the plea bargain saying she is innocent.

At a rally for her support in June, the police reported that the found business cards saying "You have been paid a social visit by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The next visit will not be social." At a rally on Monday, opponents waved confederate flags. There is certainly a subset of racist whites that are trying to make their presence known.


*shrug*

I suspect that neither side is telling the story exactly as it occurs.

Regardless, I find Heather Ellis to be more believable.
 

Nolerama

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I'd like to see video.

And sometimes, I accidentally cut in line, not knowing that there was a line to begin with.

People are tired. Sometimes they make mistakes.

Being a minority, and having a similar situation happen to me, I completely understand speaking out when a racial slur was uttered at me by some ignoramus.

I've also seen/heard/experienced racial assumptions (i.e. Black people all live in the ghetto, Asian are good at math, etc.) uttered by law enforcement personnel.

The real problem is the situation, and the fact that no one is backing down from this and assuming a minimal level of responsibility:

Ellis should apologize for acting like a fool in public, and should have gone through the proper channels. Writing clear, concise letters of complaint to regional managers does work.

Walmart personnel at that store should have been questioned by law enforcement at the time of the scene, and be required to undergo some sort of sensitivity training (wait... this is Walmart....) or be asked to leave... MO is an At Will state.

The LEOs involved: interviewed by their superiors on the subject, asked to debrief individually on what they said to Ms. Ellis, and had their Chief respond immediately with some sort of genuine apology, and explanation of their side of the events.

In all, everyone involved is wrong. I believe Ms. Ellis is applying for med school now. This is going to weigh heavily on her admission, I assume. From an employer's POV, I wouldn't hire a potential, ticking time-bomb ludicrious racial lawsuit.

I see this situation (which has mucked up the courts and media for 3 years??) as a sad example of interpersonal racial failure in the United States, and ridiculous lawsuits like this can affect everyone involved, years later.
 

CoryKS

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One thing is certain:

she changed lines and cut in front of other people at a retail store.

That's rude and unacceptable behavior, whatever else followed from that point. Behavior that is at odds with the Good Citizen she claims to be.

She jumped in with her cousin. Generally, I'll cut a little slack for people who are together unless they roll up with a cart full of stuff. I think the lesson here is: there's a very good reason why there's a People of Walmart website.
 

zDom

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She jumped in with her cousin. Generally, I'll cut a little slack for people who are together unless they roll up with a cart full of stuff. I think the lesson here is: there's a very good reason why there's a People of Walmart website.

If they were together, why weren't they waiting in the same line, together?

I live in southeast Missouri about an hour north of Kennett. In these small towns, almost everyone has dozens and dozens of cousins.

She was cutting. It was wrong. That much is clear. The rest? Not so much.

Either story sounds plausible to me. I don't think she is as innocent as she says. The mere fact that she was rude enough to "take cuts" on the flimsy basis of her cousin being in that line indicates she has at least SOME lack of moral fiber.

My best guess is that a lot of the allegations on both sides are true. She was probably rude and aggressive and the cops probably did make racial comments in response. Both of these behaviors are not unknown in this area. But I'm just guessing.
 

Stac3y

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I have had a disproportionate number of problems with people in lines at Walmart, cashiers, and Walmart security personnel. I sometimes wonder if they pump something in through the a/c vents that enrages people. /jk
 

Touch Of Death

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Its obvious that she cut in line and then heared racial slurs as a result of her actions. If it was the employees that made the slurs she has a case, if it was just a couple of disgruntled costomers, she is SOL.
Sean
 

MA-Caver

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Its obvious that she cut in line and then heard racial slurs as a result of her actions. If it was the employees that made the slurs she has a case, if it was just a couple of disgruntled customers, she is SOL.
Sean
Agreed. Being rude is going to get rude back at ya. Perhaps racial slurs were out of line but so was cutting and shoving other people's purchases just so you can get checked out before them.
Plus arguing and fighting against police doesn't help HER case at all. If she was in the right then she would've cooperated with the police and gotten things straightened out.
Being loud, verbally abusive and then striking police officers... well this lady just blew whatever case that she THOUGHT she might have right out of the water. If I were a judge I'd listen to everything then throw the whole thing out of court... except bring charges of assaulting police officers against her.
 

Ken Morgan

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She jumped in with her cousin. Generally, I'll cut a little slack for people who are together unless they roll up with a cart full of stuff. I think the lesson here is: there's a very good reason why there's a People of Walmart website.

I've never seen that site before, and I just wasted ten minutes of my life, (which I will never get back!!), looking a photo's of god only knows what....
 

Carol

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I really want to go look at it but I'm trying not to. Help me to be strong, people!!!

Use the force, Jen! Do not be seduced to go to the dark side!

:jediduel:
 

Stac3y

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Do it, Jen. You know you want to. It'll make you feel good.
 

grydth

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Case appears to be in mid-trial.... I'll wait and see what the balance of the testimony shows. It isn't entirely clear what her lawyer's theory of the case is...
 

zDom

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She did a plea deal. Should be in today's/tomorrow's paper.

Off the top of my head, pled guilty to resisting arrest.

Could have ended up with the very same result without all the hype.
 

Carol

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Grenadier

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She did a plea deal. Should be in today's/tomorrow's paper.

Off the top of my head, pled guilty to resisting arrest.

Could have ended up with the very same result without all the hype.

Exactly. They offered a plea deal from the start, but she refused to take it initially.
 
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