On 14 April 2018, police in Bibb County, Georgia arrested 71-year-old Judy Tucker following an altercation at a local restaurant that became a series of viral videos.
Tucker, who is white, has been charged with battery after a physical struggle with two black women who are members of the armed services. Police have identified Tucker as the "primary aggressor." Videos show the fight at the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen in Macon, which may have been sparked by racist and homophobic slurs.
In one video, Tucker attempts to wrench a cellphone from the hands of a woman identified by the Bibb County Sheriff's Office as Treasure Sharpe. Sharpe, who is black, had been video recording the ongoing altercation, which took place on a Saturday night. Tucker can be heard admonishing another woman, Stephanie Mitchell, for "...getting in our way while we were trying to park," before she lunges towards Sharpe, shouting: "Don't you take a picture of me, you do not have the right to take a picture of me."
Tucker's son then attempts to forcibly grab the phone from Sharpe, causing further consternation in the restaurant. There is a physical struggle involving several individuals, and Sharpe can be heard telling Tucker: "I’m pregnant. Look at me, I’m pregnant. You’re pushing a pregnant lady."
In a second video, Tucker's daughter approaches the person recording the video and asks: "Are you aware that you assaulted my mother? Are you aware that you assaulted my mother? Are you aware? My mother is bleeding." A third video — apparently recorded later on — shows Tucker outside the restaurant in handcuffs next to two police officers, her daughter, and her son.
Bibb County jail records show that police arrested Tucker at 8:22 P.M. on 14 April 2018 before releasing her three hours later on a bond of $650. She has been charged with simple battery.
In an incident report sent to us by the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, a sheriff's deputy noted that the fight had started after a dispute over a parking spot.
According to Mitchell, Tucker's son approached her and Sharpe and told the women they "should learn how to park" and called them "dumb bitches." According to Mitchell, Sharpe replied "Shut the fuck up."
After the women walked into the restaurant, Mitchell said Tucker's son approached them once again and called them "black lesbian bitches." The incident report adds:
Mrs. Mitchell attempted to calm the situation by asking the male subject to refrain from cussing and name calling. Mrs. Mitchell states at that point Mrs. Sharpe began video taping Mrs. Tucker.
Under Georgia law, simple battery occurs when one individual "intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another" or "intentionally causes physical harm to another."
In general it is a misdemeanor offense, but when perpetrated against a woman who is pregnant at the time of the incident, it is categorized as a "high and aggravated" misdemeanor, which means that if Tucker is convicted of assaulting Sharpe, she could face up to 12 months in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
According to the incident report, Tucker told the sheriff's deputy that either Mitchell or Sharpe had, in fending off her attempts to snatch the cellphone, "grabbed Mrs. Tucker's arm and caused a scratch to the right hand."
However, the incident report also notes that at one point Tucker "lunged and struck Mrs. Sharpe in the face" and was "at fault" and the "primary aggressor."
"With all of the lunging and slapping happening, it was never shown through cell phone video that Mrs. Mitchell or Mrs. Sharpe did anything wrong. In fact, Mrs. Mitchell tried, without fail, to stop the attack on Mrs. Sharpe."
In a statement, a spokesperson for Darden — the company that operates the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen chain of restaurants — told us:
We were appalled by the behavior of the individuals who confronted the two female service members. Such behavior flies in the face of our values and those individuals are no longer welcome in our restaurant.