Ellis trial begins today in Kennett

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 ~ Updated 2:13 PM
Joshua Payne/Daily Dunklin Democrat

KENNETT, Mo. (AP) -- Jury selection began today in the trial of a 24-year-old accused of cutting in a store checkout line and not listening to police who tried to remove her from the property.

Heather Ellis is a black teacher facing charges of assaulting officers, resisting arrest and disturbing the peace in Dunklin County. Her supporters claim the charges are racially motivated.

A rally was held on her behalf Monday, and counter-protesters also were on hand -- some waving flags with the Confederate design or swastikas.

Ellis' troubles began in 2007 when the then-college student switched into a checkout line at a Walmart in Kennett. Police say Ellis became belligerent and fought with officers called to the store. She claims she was harassed by a customer, hassled by workers and mistreated by police.

Look for more on this story later at semissourian.com.

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