GA woman says deputy called her breastfeeding at store 'offensive'

Columbus mother says deputy threatened arrest for breastfeeding

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus woman says a deputy at a local grocery store told her to stop breastfeeding her daughter in public and she wrote about the incident on Facebook.

Savannah Shukla shared her story Sunday on Facebook, and says a Muscogee County deputy told her to stop breastfeeding her baby, 1-month-old Kumar because others might find it "offensive." Shukla says she was in the process of leaving at the Piggly Wiggly located on 13th Street when the incident happened.

Shukla said she's never had any problems breastfeeding at any Piggly Wiggly locations prior to this incident. Shukla's post, which shows another customer posting about it, says:

Tonight while in Piggly Wiggly with my sister and both my children (the oldest 20mos 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."

Savvy Shukla

Shukla said she would be filing a complaint with the sheriff's office on Monday. She also says she breastfeeds both of her children.

The actions of the deputy, who is an employee of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, garnered a response by Sheriff John Darr, who posted a message an apology to Shukla on Monday.

"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," Darr wrote. "We are currently looking into this incident and it will be addressed."
Darr said his role as a husband, father and grandfather allow him to understand the need to breastfeed in public. He also said that he will make sure deputies know breastfeeding laws.

"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," Darr said.

Georgia Code An. § 31-1-9 states that a mother "has a right to breastfeed in public."

The law says:

The breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.

Sheriff Darr, who did not respond to our request for comment, made an additional post on Facebook Monday evening.

We've also reached out Piggly Wiggly JTM for comment on this incident.

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