Darr: Woman filed formal complaint in breastfeeding incident

Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr said a woman who was offended by a deputy approaching her at a Columbus Piggly Wiggly about breastfeeding in the store has filed a formal complaint on Monday.

Darr said the complaint has been forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards.

The sheriff said he spoke to the deputy, who was working part time at the store over the weekend. Darr said he was told that when some customers complained about a woman breastfeeding, the deputy approached her while she was in the check-out line and asked her if she had something she could use to cover up.

“She got offended by that. He said he knew her rights and he didn’t say anything else to her,” said Darr, who confirmed that Georgia law allows a mother to breastfeed a baby in any location where the mother and baby are authorized to be.

Darr said he has apologized to the woman.

On his Facebook page, Darr said he met with the woman in his office on Monday in reference to the incident and reiterated his stance on breastfeeding.

“My wife and I have four children who were breastfed, and two of my daughters now have small children of their own,” he said. “Therefore, I fully understand and appreciate the right of a woman to feed a child wherever she is most comfortable.”

Darr said on his Facebook page that the investigation is ongoing and the action to be taken shall be determined at its conclusion.

“However, regardless of the outcome, we would like to ensure that a situation like this does not happen again in the future. We have sent out a reminder to all of our deputies that in accordance with Georgia law a woman has the legal right to breastfeed whenever she needs to, without having to cover up. Additional training will follow.”

Larry Gierer: 706-571-8581, @lagierer