Chuntera Napier, a mom in Atlanta, Georgia was arrested for allowing her 10-year-old son Gaquan Napier to get a tattoo, even though she had no idea it was illegal for him to get the body art, even with her consent.
Gaquan asked his mom if he could get a memorial tattoo for his 12-year-old brother Malik who died after being hit by a car.
Chuntera told ABC News’ Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV: “My son came to me and said, ‘Mom, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace. It made me feel good to know that he wanted his brother on him.”
When someone at Gaquan's school noticed the tattoo and contacted police, Chuntera was arrested on Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime. She bonded out of jail on Wednesday, but was 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,” Chuntera 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.”
However, 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.”
Acworth Chief of Police Michael Wilkie told ABCNews.com that the child should be getting counseling instead of a tattoo: “Unfortunately, the mother has elected not to cooperate with the police any further in this investigation. The tragedy of this is that the child’s tattoos are some sort of memorial to a sibling who was lost in a car accident a few years ago."
"I understand from the investigators that there are several memorials to the deceased child in the apartment where they live. It may be that professional or religious counseling for their/her grief would be more helpful than anything.”