Savannah Shukla didn’t think she was breaking any laws when she decided to breastfeed her 1-month-old son, Kumar, while shopping at Piggly Wiggly in Columbus, Ga. However, a deputy threatened to arrest her on the spot because customers found it “offensive.” She described the whole ordeal on Facebook.
The mom of two, who also goes by the nickname Savvy, said that she was at the grocery store with her sister, 20-month-old and 1-month-old children. While nursing her youngest child, she was approached by a police officer as they were getting ready to leave. According to her post, he told her to cover up because it's indecent exposure.
“I repeated the law back to him stating that Georgia state law says I can breastfeed however most comfortable wherever I want as long as I'm authorized to be there,” Shukla wrote.
He allegedly went on to say that “that’s not the case ... You just THINK you know what the law says and if your nipple becomes exposed, I really don't want to have to arrest you or you be arrested for being offensive. This isn't like the First Amendment where you can say something offensive," he added.
The deputy also claimed that he saw her areola. However, Shukla insisted that in order to see her nipple, he would have to be “staring VERY hard.”
The confident mom didn’t back down and basically told the officer to have a good night. Despite standing firmly with regards to her rights, she says that the incident made her very upset. She decided to push forward and report the incident.
Savvy has since been in contact with Sheriff John Darr of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s office, who apologized for the incident. Darr is also a father of four and said that he agrees that Savvy is within her rights.
“I would like to personally extend an apology, on behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole,” he said.
Sheriff Darr mentioned that he spoke to the officer in question and got a different take about the confrontation. The officer "stated that he only spoke to the woman about covering up because customers were complaining," Ledger-Enquirer reports.
Shukla told mom.me that the Sheriff’s department is doing a formal investigation.
It’s so sad that in this day and age we are dealing with “breastfeeding shaming.” I breastfed each of my children for two years. There were times when I nurse them in public. Even though I was never harassed by a police officer, I did experience glares and strange comments from people.
It’s insulting having to defend feeding your child. We never have to explain why we eat at restaurants or anywhere else, but we’re often subjected to intense scrutiny and have to explain why our babies have every right to breastfeed in public. People often use nudity as an excuse. But, why does society accept nude images of women in magazines and throughout social media? And tell me, how is nourishing a child sexual?