Police in Arkansas are defending their actions after a video of officers arresting a man in his home over his son’s ear piercing went viral.
In the video, four officers with the Tontitown Police Department are seen entering the home through the front door, handcuffing the dad, Jeremy Sherland, and leading him into a police car waiting outside.
A woman repeatedly asks officers why they’re at the home and, while he’s being handcuffed, Sherland laughs and says “body art without a license.”
“Guys, chill,” the woman says as Sherland is led away from the home. “What is really going on here?”
Video of the Thursday, April 20 incident stirred anger on social media, with many seeing Sherland’s arrest as police overreach.
Tontitown police said the arrest came after receiving a tip about a “welfare concern” from a resource officer at the school Sherland’s son attends, the department said in an April 22 news release.
The teen arrived at school Thursday with the piercing and told fellow students that “his dad was drunk and put him in a choke hold and shoved the piercing in his ear,” police said.
Officers went to Sherland’s home and tried to speak with him about the situation, but he refused and police left, the release said. Officers returned later in the day “to make a probable cause arrest,” adding that Sherland “refused to comply.”
“Tontitown officers contacted the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office to discuss the incident,” the release said. Sherland is accused of violating a law that prohibits body piercings or art for children under age 16 and for doing so in an “unlicensed facility.”
Sherland’s son said that he wanted the piercing and that his father didn’t force him, KMWA reported.
Sherland was released on bond on April 22, and a court hearing was set for April 24, according to the outlet.
Tontitown is roughly 200 miles northwest of Little Rock.
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