WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga. -- A Dollar General employee arrested in Wrightsville last week for hitting a child with a belt has now been charged with two felonies, aggravated assault and cruelty to children. The charges were upgraded from simple battery because according to the police chief, store video shows the woman hitting the 8 year old at least 25 times.
After initially saying they were looking into the details of the case before acting, Dollar General told 11Alive News Monday afternoon the employee, Emilia Graciela Bell, had been fired. "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the reported incident at our store in Wrightsville, Georgia," read the statement, "And have expressed our sincere apologies to the child's family."
Investigators have not yet released the video, but the boy's family told WMAZ Macon over the weekend it shows a "beating," not a spanking.
"It was more or less a beating than a spanking the way she was hitting him," said Jody Ivey, the father of 8 year old Logan Ivey. "I don't know how to explain it, and I don't want to think about it."
Logan said it was very painful.
"I felt like I had five needles sticking in me; it really hurt, I was screaming 'Mama,'" he said. "And I was crying real bad because she [the clerk] had actually hurt me...when she stopped whipping me my pants were actually a little bit warm."
Wrightsville Police Chief Paul Sterling said Logan was running around in the store and got into a confrontation with Bell, 39. Bell told investigators that Logan threw a cookie at her and that's when she removed her belt, chased the boy down and spanked him behind the counter.
"It felt real real painful; nobody should have that kind of torture to them," Logan said. "It really hurts."
The boy's mother and sister, who were also in the store, did not witness the spanking, according to the chief.
The chief said Bell was immediately arrested and admitted to investigators what she did.
Bell was taken to jail and bonded out Friday morning.
Dollar General's full statement:
"Dollar General strives to provide a safe and welcoming place for our customers to shop. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the reported incident at our store in Wrightsville, Ga and have expressed our sincere apologies to the child's family. This incident is contrary to our core values of serving our customers and communities and does not reflect the commitment of our nearly 93,000 employees to treat everyone who enters our stores with kindness and respect. The type of behavior described in this incident is unacceptable, and the person responsible is no longer employed by Dollar General."
(Erica Lockwood contributed to this report.)