NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The woman in the body-slamming video from outside Popeye’s in Columbia is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries.

The Popeye’s employee charged with aggravated assault remains in the Maury County Jail.

Deborah Staggs has a lifetime of pain ahead of her, said Rocky McElhaney, her attorney. She’s currently sedated after surgeries to repair damage to her leg. She also has six broken ribs.

“Every breath you take causes pain,” said McElhaney.

The video taken outside the Popeye’s Restaurant in Columbia last Tuesday is painful to watch. The man who is seen picking up Staggs, Popeye’s employee Derriance Hughes, was arrested Friday. He can’t get out until he has a bond hearing before a judge.

Columbia Police said there may be more arrests in the case.

“By the time she was outside the door, it was a gang mob mentality. They were in attack mode,” said McElhaney.

The woman who appears to be throwing punches, News4 was told, is the manager.

Popeye’s has not responded to requests for comment.

Who is Hughes, accused of body-slamming Staggs. Police said he has no violent history. His Facebook and Twitter accounts indicate he graduated from a Columbia trade school, into cosmetology, couture and modeling.

The incident has caused racial tensions with conflicting stories about whether Staggs used the N-word.

You don’t hear her say that on videos taken in the restaurant, though you hear someone appearing to make reference to it.

“My client says she didn’t use racial slurs,” said McElhaney.

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Reporter

Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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