A Georgia woman was released on bond Wednesday after being arrested for getting her 10-year-old son a tattoo on his arm.
The Acworth Police Department arrested Chuntera Napier of Cobb County on Tuesday for tattooing her son after a person noticed the emblem on his arm. She was charged with misdemeanor cruelty as well as being a party to a crime.
Napier told WSBTV that she wanted to let her son, Gaquan Napier, get a tattoo to honor his older brother, Malik, who had died after being killed by a teenaged driver in Macon two years ago. Since the family is still mourning the death of Malik, Napier granted Gaquan’s wish to get a tattoo of his brother’s jersey number. Malik was 12 when he was killed.
A 2010 Georgia law criminalizes tattooing children under the age of 18.
WATCH LOCAL CHANNEL 2 ACTIONS NEWS COVERAGE OF THIS STORY HERE:
In her defense, Napier told WSBTV that she thought, if a parent gave consent to the tattooer, then tattooing a child was within the law. “How can somebody else say that it’s not OK? 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,” Napier said.
“It made me feel good to know that he wanted his brother on him,” Napier continued. “My son came to me and said, ‘Mom, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace.’ What do I say to a child who wants to remember his brother?”
Gaquan also told WSBTV he wanted the tattoo, “because it represents my brother.”
“It’s not like he was asking me, ‘Can I get Sponge Bob?’ Like people getting all kinds of things on them,” Napier concluded. “He asked me something that’s in remembrance of his brother. How can I say no?”
And she didn’t say no. Instead Napier took her child to a tattoo artist located in Smyrna, who is now under investigation for tattooing the boy.
Napier is not the only parent who has faced charges due to tattooing children.
In late December 2010, a Georgia couple was accused of using a plastic pen with a needle made from a guitar string to tattoo six of their children (some of whom were from previous relationships).
Patty Jo Marsh and Jacob Bartels of Summerville, Georgia were arrested on December 28, 2010, and charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing.
In her defense, the mother, Patty Jo, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I’m their mother. Shouldn’t I be able to decide if they get one?”
According to reports, five of the children, who were then aged 10 to 17-years-old, got a small cross inked onto their hands, and a sixth had “mom and dad” tattooed on his arm. The seventh and youngest child, who was a 7-year-old boy at the time, was not tattooed.
Police arrested the parents after the biological mother of two of the children told police that the tattoos wouldn’t wash off.