Breastfeeding isn’t a crime.
Image via Savvy Shukla/Facebook.
A Georgia woman was breastfeeding her daughter in a local Piggly Wiggly when she was approached by a police officer. The officer told her to cover up because her breastfeeding was “offensive.” But Savvy Shukla, a mother of two, knew the local laws, and told the officer that feeding her child in public was perfectly legal. “Georgia state law says I can breastfeed however most comfortable wherever I want as long as I’m authorized to be there,” she said. But the officer wouldn’t budge and told Shukla he could already “see her areola,” and he would arrest her if she didn’t cover up.
Shukla told the officer she knew her rights and walked away. When Shukla got home, she was still fuming about the incident and posted about it on Facebook. She then reported the officer’s actions to his “higher-ups.” The post struck a nerve and was shared over 15,000 times in just three days.
Here’s part of her post:
Tonight while in Piggly Wiggly with my sister and both my children (the oldest 20 months and the youngest 1 month old today) while nursing a deputy approached me right when I was about to leave and informed that I needed to cover up because someone might find it “offensive.”
He also pointed out how he could “already see my areola” and that if someone saw my nipple (even if I were trying to cover up) that he would have to arrest me and that he “really didn’t want to arrest me.” For him to see my areola he would’ve had to have been staring VERY hard.
I finally got mad enough and walked away telling him I know my right, to have a good night. And went to the car and boohooed and I'm still boohooing about it.
Shukla’s Facebook post and police report didn’t fall on deaf ears. “I actually was able to talk to the sheriff and make the formal complaint,” she told Mashable. “They’re currently doing an investigation on the situation.” After hearing Shukla’s complaint, Muscogee County Sheriff John T. Darr responded to her on Facebook pledging his department’s full support:
I have seen and am aware of a post circulating Facebook, regarding a situation between a Muscogee County deputy and a woman attempting to breastfeed her young child. My wife and I have four children, each of whom were breastfed, and two of my daughters now have small children of their own. Therefore, I fully understand and appreciate the right of a woman to feed her child wherever she is most comfortable. It is also the law in the state of Georgia. We are currently looking into this incident and it will be addressed. Our office does not condone these actions and will ensure all officers know and understand the law. On behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, I would like to personally extend an apology to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole.
After the incident, Shukla has no intentions to stop breastfeeding in public. “I will continue to breastfeed uncovered and in public like I have been for last 20 months,” she told Mashable.