A mother who was asked by police officers to leave the pit area of a concert in San Diego because they feared the 4-month-old could be injured says she was asked to leave because she had been breastfeeding her child in public.
Megan Christopherson was at a Brad Paisley concert in San Diego on Thursday night when an officer from the Chula Vista Police Department asked her to leave the area, saying the child could be crushed from a potential surge from the crowd or could be impacted from loud noise coming from speakers.
In the mother's short video clip that she posted on YouTube but has since been taken down, the security officer is seen telling her that the child doesn't have hearing protection and warning her of a crowd surge.
"Where you're at, your child could get crushed,'' the officer says. "We're afraid your child's eardrums are being hurt."
But Christopherson argues in the video that the baby, Gracie, who was asleep, was fine and that she had recently taken the infant to another concert at the same venue and had no problems with security. She also tells the officer that she thinks she's being ejected from the area because other security personnel had allegedly told her to stop breastfeeding because people were complaining.
Ultimately the officer gives her two options: Go to a seated area free of charge or leave the concert and get a refund. Christopherson left with her baby and her 8-year-old daughter.
The officer also tells her it has nothing to do with breastfeeding and that he has contacted the San Diego County district attorney's office regarding the incident.
A statement released Friday by the police department on its website said, "The Chula Vista Police Department's involvement in the incident was due to the welfare and safety of the infant and not due to a mother's legal right to breastfeed in public."
The statement said that Christopherson "was near the stage wall area and mere feet away from the speakers" and was advised of the danger, "crushing from potential crowd surge and excessive noise level from the adjacent speaker."
Still, one of Christopherson's friends and some concert-goers corroborated her story to local media.
"Security continued to stand next to her and even photographed her, taking the photos to the supervisor," the friend told NBC 7, regarding the breastfeeding.
Concert-goer Carmen Cooley-Graham told ABC 10 that she saw the incident, and while she wouldn't take a baby to a concert, the child seemed fine.
"All the sudden he said (to her) we got complaints of your breastfeeding," Cooley-Graham said.
"I'm shocked. I'm disgusted at our society that women are shamed into nursing in bathrooms or their cars or feeding their baby a bottle only, because they're scared to nurse in public," Christopherson told NBC on Friday.
The mother insisted to both TV stations that the baby was never uncomfortable or in danger.
"It's a country concert," she told ABC 10. "I wasn't at a death metal or a rap concert. It's pretty somber at country concerts."
"I trust my motherly instinct that if my baby's ears hurt, she would cry, and then I would move out," she told NBC.
Christopherson says she plans to hire a lawyer and wants the security company to come forward with a formal apology.
"We all parent our children different," she said. "That's our right. You're gonna choose something for your child that I'm not gonna choose for my child."
(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)