Woman Threatened With Arrest for Breastfeeding at the Piggly Wiggly
Of all the people in the world that one would expect to be familiar with what is and is not illegal, law enforcement officers are near the top of the list. I mean, how do you arrest someone if you don’t know if what they’re doing is illegal? And if you don’t know the laws, maybe you wind up arresting someone for something that is not illegal at all. That nearly happened this week at a Piggly Wiggly in Georgia, where a deputy told a woman that if she didn’t stop breastfeeding in public he was going to have to arrest her, despite the fact that breastfeeding in public is completely legal.
According to KTLA, last week Savvy Shukla was at a Piggly Wiggly in Columbus, Georgia, nursing her baby, when a deputy told her she had to cover up because someone might see her nipple, and then he might have to arrest her for being offensive.
Like most nursing mothers with access to the Internet, Shukla knows that she is legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere she is allowed to be, and she told the deputy that according to Georgia law she could go ahead and feed her children. Then he argued with her and said she was wrong about the law. She reiterated that she knew the law, and that she was allowed to nurse.
“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 said. He then reportedly went on to tell Shukla that he could see her areola and that if the baby came off the nipple she could be arrested.Â
Another woman was at the store and took a picture of the deputy arguing with Shukla, and she got his name and also told him he was wrong about the law and about telling Shukla to stop breastfeeding.
Luckily the Internet is not the only thing that has Shukla’s back. The Sheriff does, too. Local Sheriff John T. Darr posted an apology to Facebook, pointing out that he has four kids and two small grandchildren, all of whom were breastfed, and that morally and legally a woman has the right to feed her child wherever she is most comfortable.Â
Sheriff Darr’s deputies are probably about to get a serious refresher course in Georgia state law, and on not threatening to arrest women for feeding their babies.