A Chula Vista police officer asked a woman with an infant strapped to her chest to move away from the stage at a Brad Paisley concert because of concern for the safety of the child, not because the woman was breast-feeding, the police department said Friday.
The woman was standing in the "pit" area and only feet away from the speakers at the country-western star's concert Thursday night at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.
The officer was concerned both for possible damage to the child's hearing and also that the child could be hurt if the crowd surged toward the stage, the department said.
The controversy was sparked after a video was posted on YouTube in which the woman is heard complaining to the officer that she had been warned just minutes earlier by a security guard to stop breast-feeding her four-month-old daughter. A story was done by KGTV-Channel 10.
On the video, the officer is heard to respond, "This has nothing to do with the breast-feeding. … I'm explaining to you, it's your child getting crushed with everyone getting pushed forward."
According to police, she was given two choices: be escorted to a seated area or receive a full refund. She chose the latter. On the video, she identified herself as Megan Christopherson, 30, a Navy wife.
Also on the video, the woman is heard saying that she attended a Tim McGraw concert with her child without problems.
In its statement, the police department said that the officer'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."