The Buzz was cruising the web when this bit of outrageousness came floating by on the Twitternets. From News Release Now
Kennett, MO. – Heather Ellis, a young college student out of Kennett, MO is now facing 15 years in prison if she is sentenced after being accused of cutting line at a local Walmart. Her case has gotten the attention of the nation, and has been the subject of extensive online protests.
Heather was in a Walmart store 3 years ago with her cousin. The two split up to find the shortest line. Since her cousin was in the shorter line, Heather joined him. That’s when the clerk accused Heather of cutting in front of the other customers. An argument ensued, leading to the manager and security guard being called, and finally the police.
The incident left Ellis, an honor student on her way to medical school, charged with disturbing the peace, trespassing and two counts of assaulting a police officer. After Heather refused to sign a plea agreement, Stephen Sokoloff, the town’s prosecutor, filed felony charges against Heather.
Ellis goes on trial on November 15th and faces 15 years in prison. The community has expressed its outrage with rallies and protests, which have led to threats from the Ku Klux Klan. A police officer delivered a card to the family from the Klan and Heather’s father believes that the officer’s delivery of the card was part of a broader plot to intimidate the family. He also argues that Walmart should release the surveillance tape to show that his daughter is innocent.
Dr. Boyce Watkins, a prominent black professor at Syracuse University, has stepped in to become involved in Heather’s case. Watkins, along with the Your Black World Coalition and National Action Network, have created a website, “SaveHeatherEllis.com,” and have generated thousands of signatures in support of her case. He has also called for the prosecutor in the case, Stephen Sokoloff, to be investigated by the Justice Department.
Fifteen years seems…excessive.