UPDATE 11/21/09: The Wal-Mart line-cutter struck a plea bargain with prosecution today.
The agreement states that Heather Ellis will plead guilty to disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. The penalty foe this will be one year of unsupervised probation, anger management courses and four days in jail.
If Ellis does not break the one-year probation, all charges will be erased nothing will be marked on the schoolteacher's permanent record.
Ellis said that this deal proves she is "taking responsibility for her actions and [hopes] that everyone else involved in the case will take responsibility for theirs."
She was initially charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and disturbing the peace. The max sentence for such could have meant 15 years.
UPDATE 11/19/09: Heather Ellis, the 24-year-old schoolteacher charged with assaulting police officers, resisting arrest and disturbing the peace at a Walmart in Kenneth, Missouri, claims that she was a victim of racism.
According to CNN, Ellis said that when she changed checkout lines at the Walmart, customers got angry and used racial slurs toward her. One officer apparently told her to "go back to the ghetto."
Police and officers and onlookers have a completely different story, saying that Ellis was out of control that night in 2007. Either way, Ellis, who refused a plea back in 2007 and who now is engaged to a state trooper, could get 15 years in jail for the incident.
10/20/09: Heather Ellis, a college honors student in Missouri, is facing 15 years in prison for allegedly cutting the line at a Walmart. We've all been in the supermarket, our favorite retailer and even the bank, and watched people wiggle past us to be served first. Amazingly, in 2009, we're getting arrested, charged and maligned for cutting?
The case started nearly three years after a Kennett, Missouri-based Walmart employee made the accusation. Ellis and her cousin were searching for the shortest line, so they split up. When her cousin found the shorter line, she joined him. That's when things went awry. A manager and security guard got involved and ultimately, the police were called.
It sounds like 40 years ago when "Dr. King was living. It's unacceptable today," said Rev. Dwight Montgomery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Memphis. Ellis was charged with disturbing the peace, trespassing and two counts of assaulting a police officer. Details surrounding the incident are reportedly unclear.
After rejecting a plea deal on a misdemeanor count, the prosecutor, Stephen Sokoloff, became intent on pushing for a felony trial next month. To make matters worse, the Klu Klux Klan tried to intimidate the family by rallying and making threats. The site saveheatherellis.com has emerged, and her family is rallying to get local and national support. Stay tuned. -Tanisha A. Sykes