Deputy says breastfeeding mom is ‘offensive’

Sometimes I think there’s so many laws police have trouble staying abreast of them.

For example, if you Google “weird laws of Atlanta” you may read it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole in the city limits.

Savannah Shukla was confronted by an unnamed deputy at the Columbus Piggly Wiggly while breastfeeding. (Image from Facebook)

Savannah Shukla was confronted by an unnamed deputy at the Columbus Piggly Wiggly while breastfeeding. (Image from Facebook)

I’m not kidding. The Internet, in case you haven’t heard, is full of things that aren’t true.

Fortunately for Midtown giraffe owners, no such city ordinance exists.

Laws that are on the books still confuse some people.

Georgia’s law on breastfeeding is quite clear, however.

If a woman is legally entitled to be in a place, be it a grocery store or public park, she can breastfeed a child.

Columbus mother Savannah Shukla knows the law. But, on Facebook, she said a Muscogee County deputy didn’t when he confronted her Sunday night at the local Piggly Wiggly.

According to Shukla, she was feeding her 1-month-old when the unnamed deputy told her to stop because someone might find it “offensive.”

The 21-year-old mother, whose story is confirmed by someone who snapped a photo of the encounter, told the deputy she knew the law and was not breaking it.

The deputy became “flustered,” she said, and told her “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.”

She says she left the store and cried.

Monday morning Shukla called Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr, who apologized on Facebook and said his deputies would receive “additional training.”

Darr didn’t name the deputy, but said he spoke with him and the deputy claims he only asked Shukla if she had something she could use to “cover up.”

“I think she had the mindset that he said that she couldn’t [breastfeed] and that’s so far from the truth,” he said in a Columbus Ledger-Enquirer article. “That’s my problem. People put that stuff out there on Facebook without getting all the facts.”

From that quote, Darr seems to be saying he knows the truth better than someone who was actually there.

Shukla said Darr’s interview left her “furious.”

Which is more likely? The deputy changed the story to avoid embarrassment, or the mother put a false, embarrassing story on Facebook?

Breastfeeding is not going away. I’ve not researched it, but I theorize women have been doing it for a long time.

I see mothers breastfeeding in public more and more often and find it less annoying than a screaming baby and many talkative adults.

People are more easily offended these days. Some commenters on the Columbus story said women should have more “decency.”

“If someone finds [breastfeeding] offensive something is wrong with them,” Shukla says.

I figure if society can tolerate men wearing britches around their knees it can probably handle a partially exposed breast.

Those who disagree are encouraged to never leave home.


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