A young mother and her two children were escorted from the “pit” area near the stage at a Brad Paisley concert Thursday night because local police said she was endangering the baby strapped to her chest by being too close to speakers. The baby was not wearing any ear protection.
Based on video of the incident, it appears to have taken place before Paisley took the stage, but after at least one of his opening acts had performed. The concert was held at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, California.
The woman, Megan Christopherson, recorded the interaction between herself and police on her phone and posted the video on TouTube. KSWB (Fox 5) San Diego
describes Christopherson as a “Navy wife,” and says in addition to the baby, she was at the show with another child, who appeared to be about 10 years old.
Christopherson is claiming she was really kicked out because she had been breastfeeding her baby in the pit earlier, and was asked to stop by venue security. Police say their only concern was for the baby’s safety.
Police released a statement Friday that 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 video shows officers asking her to leave the pit area of the concert with them. When she asks why, one of the officers tells her that she is putting her baby in danger because of the loud music and the possibility that the baby could be crushed if the crowd surges forward toward the stage,” reports KSWB (Fox 5) San Diego. “The officer explains that they consulted the District Attorney’s Office before approaching her and were told that bringing a baby to the pit area of a concert constituted borderline felony child endangerment.”
The woman “repeatedly asked the officers for proof that noise levels in the pit area posed a danger to her baby,” KSWB reports. “At one point during the interaction, an officer threatened to refer the case to San Diego County Child Protective Services. He also said that if she had refused to leave the pit with the baby, she would have been placed under arrest.”
Christopherson was told she could either be re-seated in a safer area for the concert, or leave and have her money refunded. She chose the latter option. KSWB reports both the woman and her older daughter were in tears while being led out of the venue.