A Georgia mother who was arrested for allowing her 10-year-old to get a tattoo said she had no idea it was illegal for him to get one, even with her consent.
When Chuntera Napier’s son Gaquan Napier asked her if he could get a memorial tattoo for his 12-year-old brother Malik who died after being hit by a car, Napier was touched by the request.
“My son came to me and said, ‘Mom, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace,’” she told ABC News’ Atlanta affiliate WSBTV. “It made me feel good to know that he wanted his brother on him.”
When Gaquan Napier was asked why he wanted the tattoo, he said, “Because it represents my brother.”
“What do I say to a child who wants to remember his brother? It’s not like he was asking me, ‘Can I get Sponge Bob?” Napier said. “He asked me [for] something that’s in remembrance of his brother. How can I say no?”
Gaquan got a tattoo on his right arm of his brother’s name and his former basketball jersey number. Napier also has memorial tattoos for her son on her right arm.
When someone at his school noticed the tattoo and contacted authorities, Napier was arrested on Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime, according to WSBTV. Napier bonded out of jail on Wednesday but is shocked that her consent was not enough for her son to get a tattoo.
“I always thought that if a parent gave consent, then it was fine,” she said. “How can somebody else say that it’s not okay? He’s my child, and I have the right to say what I want for my child. I can’t go tell anybody else what I want for their child.”
A Georgia law from 2010 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to tattoo the body of any person under the age of 18, except a physician or osteopath.”
The Acworth Police Department did not respond to request for comment and the Smyrna, Ga. artist who did the tattoo is also under investigation.
Other parents have been arrested before in Georgia for allegedly giving their children tattoos.
Last April, a man in Floyd County, in northwest Georgia, was found guilty of giving a tattoo to a person under 18 after he tattooed “DB,” for “Daddy’s Boy,” on the shoulder of his 3-year-old son. He was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and fined $300.
About two years ago, a couple in Summerville, also in northwest Georgia, were arrested and charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and illegal tattooing after they allegedly gave all six of their youngsters, ages 10 to 17, small cross tattoos.