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Arkansas man arrested on charges of piercing teen son's ear

Tontitown police officers accused Jeremy Sherland of violating state laws that ban "body art" on anyone under 16.

Arkansas police arrested a man accused of piercing his teenage son's ear in alleged violation of state laws against various forms of "body art," authorities said Sunday.

Officers booked Jeremy Sherland on suspicion of performing a body piercing on a minor under 16, endangerment of a minor and resisting arrest, Tontitown police said in a statement.

The investigation was touched off Thursday when the suspect's son told classmates he had had his left ear pierced, police said.

"While sitting in class talking with other students and a teacher present, the juvenile male stated his dad was drunk and put him in a choke hold and shoved the piercing in his ear," according to the police statement.

Sherland refused to talk to officers when they first went to his home, before they huddled with Washington County prosecutors and returned to make the arrest, officials said.

Video of the arrest appeared to show four police officers pushing their way into a home and handcuffing the man.

A woman in the video demands to know the charges before the handcuffed man throws his head back and breaks out in loud laughter.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Body art without a license! Body art without a license!" he can be heard saying.

As the man is marched around the corner and through the neighborhood, he can be heard laughing at officers.

"Piercing his son's ear without a license takes three cops, four cops?" the woman says as the camera follows the arrested man and four officers. "No permission — they busted into my front door. This is the boy right here. He got a pierced ear by his dad, [and] these cops busted in my door, busted in the front door."

A younger male's voice can also be heard from behind the camera, interjecting: "I wanted my ears pierced."

Tontitown police cited a section of Arkansas law saying a "person shall not perform body art on a person under 16 (sixteen) years of age, regardless of parental consent."

But that section of state law, Chapter 27 of the Arkansas public health codes, also appears to carve out a specific exception: "except when piercing the earlobe."

Despite language that appears to allow youngsters under 16 to get their ears pierced, Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett said the statute could still apply to Sherland.

"Also under that statute is that it's unlawful to perform body art in any unlicensed facility," Durrett said Monday. "It can apply depending on the facts of the situation."

Tontitown police representatives couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday. It also wasn't immediately clear whether Sherland had hired or been assigned a defense attorney.

Sherland was released after he posted $1,500, and his arraignment was set for May 22.

"Between the arrest and arraignment, we review every case that comes in and we look at the evidence — and it's not unusual at all for evidence to come in after the arrest which can affect the charging decision," Durrett said.