Florida city drops pants law after NAACP lawsuit
The NAACP had criticized the law, which came into effect in July
2014, and said it would take action against the city for unfairly
profiling African-American men, according to WKMG radio.
Shortly after the NAACP criticism about the law, Ocala’s mayor declined support for the law and urged the council to reconsider.
In a majority vote on Tuesday, September 16, Ocala City Council members repealed the law, which banned anyone on city property from wearing their pants two inches below the natural waist in a way that exposed their underwear or buttocks. Offenders were to be fined up to $500 and spend time in jail.
The saggy pants ban was introduced by Councilwoman Deborah Rich.
“It’s not true that I did this to profile black men. As you can see, I’ve been black a long time,” said Rich. “I have a black son, I have two black grandsons and two black great-grandsons. So why would I want an ordinance that would hurt them or any other young black person?”reported WUFT.FM
WUFT said Rich went on to tell the Council Chamber the types of people who wear saggy pants also don’t have jobs.
“And when you don’t have money to feed your family, what do you do? Steal,” Rich said. “I don’t think we’re violating their First Amendment rights.”
The majority of city council members agreed to repeal the law as it wasn’t terribly important to the city.
Everyone’s weighed in on saggy pants legislation, from President Obama to the curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, when the fashion style began appearing on city streets six years ago, and states and cities started considering bans.
“I think passing a law about people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time,” then-presidential candidate Barack Obama told MTV News in 2008. “We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, getting healthcare, dealing with the war in Iraq. Any public official who is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there,” he said.
Andrew Bolton, the curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the New York Times“fashions tend to be decried when they challenge the conservative morality of a society.”