Black Mom Jailed for Allowing 10-Year-Old Son to Get a Tattoo

A Georgia mother was jailed then released for allowing her 10-year-old son to tattoo a memorial to his dead brother on his arm.

Chuntera Napier says she couldn’t tell her 10-year-old son, Gaquan, no when he asked to be allowed to honor his brother’s memory with a tattoo. Gaquan’s brother was killed by a teenage driver two years ago.

Authorities arrested Napier and charged her with misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime.

“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?” Napier told reporters.

The mom took her son to a tattoo artist in Smyrna, Ga., who gave the boy a tattoo featuring his deceased brother’s name and former basketball jersey number.

According to Georgia 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 …”

Napier, who bonded out of jail on Jan. 18, says she had no idea the law existed, and finds it hard to believe that her consent is not sufficient to allow her son to be  tattooed.

It definitely is a parent’s responsibility to say no to a child who engages in dangerous or self-destructive behavior, though this situation doesn’t clearly fall into that category. Although most parents would not consent to having their 10-year-old tattooed for any reason, given the fact that this mother had previously lost a son, it is plausible that her judgment was clouded by the emotional nature of the boy’s request.

This “crime” could have been avoided if the tattoo artist had informed the mother of the illegality involved and denied their request. –kathleen cross


  • swv
    January 21, 2012

    My thoughts are that this is an example of poor judgment, perhaps on both parts, but the law is causing FAR more harm to the child than the mother did. Being charged with a misdemeanor in Georgia can hurt her chances of getting some jobs and even financial aid for college.

    Back in Mayberry NC there was the example of how Andy handled law enforcement and then there was Barney’s way of handling the law. This Georgia police action was definitely in the Barney mode.

    Furthermore, Georgia’s state university years ago, pointing out the overcrowding of the state’s jails and other issues suggested Georgia follow 46 other states in adopting an alternative arrest program.

    As my mother still says: Two wrongs don’t make a right. Georgia law enforcement couldn’t be more wrong in its action in this case. They should drop it- it makes them look more like the draconians they can be, especially coming on the heels of Troy Davis’s execution.

    I agree with this petition:

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