Breastfeeding woman threatened with fine for public indecency by police officer in Bruges

Breastfeeding woman threatened with fine for public indecency by police officer in Bruges
Credit: Flickr/Reka Magyarosi

The federal police have initiated disciplinary proceedings against a police officer who threatened to fine a woman for breastfeeding in her own car in Bruges.

The incident happened over the summer, but the woman has only made her story public recently. She was driving when her baby started crying. Nothing helped to appease the boy, so the woman parked her car to breastfeed him.

“Suddenly someone knocked on the car window,” the woman said. A federal officer of the road police asked her to roll down her car window so he could admonish her. He ordered her to immediately stop breastfeeding. “This is public indecency. Everyone can see this here,” he said. The woman made clear that she was sitting in her own car in a car park, but the officer threatened to write up a police report.

However, the woman had a passenger in the back of her car who started filming when she felt the police officer was out of line. “She recorded a large part of the conversation, and I delivered it to the police. I deliberately chose not to spread it, because I do not want to be resentful. But it did ensure that my complaint was taken seriously,” she added, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

The woman decided to file a complaint. “Treating people like that, it is really not okay. As a mother, it is painful and shocking to be treated so harshly, just because you are breast-feeding,” she said.

Since the complaint still did not lead to a response months after the incident, the woman and her partner decided to write an open letter.

The federal police stressed that they are not trying to cover up the incident. “We regret this incident and have started disciplinary proceedings against the police officer. We are still waiting for the results,” said Sarah Frederickx, a police spokesperson, reports De Morgen.

“We emphasize that breastfeeding is absolutely not a matter of public indecency. On the contrary, it is one of the most natural things in the world,” she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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