Chattanooga day care worker charged with aggravated child abuse

Aukeera Tellis. (MGN | Hamilton County Jail)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) - Chattanooga police have arrested and charged a 27-year-old woman with two counts of aggravated child abuse. An affidavit says surveillance video taken at a day care on North Chamberlain Avenue shows Aukeera Ellis become physical with two children in the day care in two separate incidents. She was later fired after her bosses watched video of the incidents.

Both affidavits say this happened on April 19 at First Step Daycare at 1701 N. Chamberlain Ave.

The affidavit says the mother of the day care's owner saw the video surveillance and called police.

Officers spoke with the mother of the child, as well as the co-owner and operations manager of the day care.

Co-owner Tina Stewart provided video footage to officer, and operations manager Channell Haney described what she saw, according to the affidavit.

Haney told officers she saw Ellis hit a young boy so hard on his backside that it knocked him to the floor.

She says Ellis then picked the boy up by his arm, and then "slam" him "down on the sleeping cart."

Haney called the Child Abuse Hotline to report the incident.

Both affidavits says video surveillance backs up Haney's account.

A second affidavit says in another incident on the same day, video surveillance shows Ellis slamming a second child down on a sleeping cart so hard, "his head hit the cart and bounced up."

His mother Tamera Fowlkes says the day care refuses to show her the video they say they have of the incident.

She says the owner told her she fired Tellis for mistreating her son, but never revealed the details in Tellis's arrest report.

"That's crazy," she said. "That hurts my soul. That hurts my feelings."

First Step Daycare owner Betty Patterson told officers she saw that incident, and right after it happened, she called Ellis into her office and fired her.

Police arrested Ellis May 11 and charged her with two counts of aggravated child abuse.

This is a developing story. Depend on NewsChannel 9 to bring you updates as we learn them.

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