When Chuntera Napier’s 10-year-old son asked if he could get a tattoo honoring his brother who had been killed by a teen driver two years ago, the Georgia mother says she couldn’t tell him no. But now she may wish she had since authorities have charged her with misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime as a result of the body art.
Chuntera doesn’t attempt to deny her part in the “crime.” She admits taking her son Gaquan to an artist in Smyrna where he received a tattoo featuring his brother’s name and his former basketball jersey number.
“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?”
I always thought it was legal to tattoo a minor with consent from their legal guardian, but according to a 2010 law, “it shall be unlawful for any person to tattoo the body of any person under the age of 18, except for a physician or osteopath…”
Chuntera says she was unaware of the law, and although she was bonded out of jail Wednesday, she’s still shocked that she had to face this predicament. As far as the tattoo artist, police say they want to speak with the person who allegedly applied the tattoo to 10-year-old Gaquan.
Police Chief Mike Wilkie said of the mother and son, “We hope they can find something that can sustain them through that loss, but this is not the way, and it is illegal, and it was something we were bound by the law to investigate and to prosecute.”
Do you think Chuntera was wrong to let her son get a tattoo (outside of not knowing it was illegal)? Do you agree with the law banning tattoos on minors?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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