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City of Florida repeals ‘saggy pants’ ban on black men

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They leave the past behind.

A city in South Florida rolled back its 2007 “saggy pants” ban, with officials saying it disproportionately targeted black men.

The Opa-locka City Commission on Wednesday voted 4-1 to repeal legislation affecting men, along with a 2013 ordinance that women could also be subject to a civil citation for wearing pants exposing their underwear. -clothing, reported the Miami Herald.

I’ve never been in favor of it, even as a resident, Deputy Mayor Chris Davis, who sponsored the repeal, told the Herald. I felt that this disproportionately affected a certain segment of our population, which is made up of young African American men.

The repeal must be approved again at a subsequent committee meeting before it becomes official. But the introduction was co-sponsored by four of the five commissioners, the newspaper notes.

Signs are still posted in the city northwest of Miami, warning people of the ordinance that “prohibits the wearing of saggy pants clothes in parks and buildings in the city of Opa-locka.”

“No ifs, and or butts… it’s the law of the city!” the sign says, with an image of two young men with their pants hanging below their waists.

Mayor Matthew Pigatt wants the signs removed.

“It is long overdue and they have to go,” he said. “They are an eyesore in the city.”

It is not known how often the law – which awarded fines of $ 250 – has been enforced or how much money has been collected in fines over the years, the Herald reported.

When it was changed in November 2013, city officials said 72 tickets had been issued so far that year.

Fines were doubled to $ 500 in 2013, with violators also threatened with 25 hours of community service.

When the law was passed, the United States Civil Liberties Union in Florida tore it apart as a ridiculous waste of public resources, saying it would impose penalties too severe for victimless behavior. The ACLU also said black people would be disproportionately affected.

The ACLU applauded the steps towards formal repeal.

Criminalizing the way someone wears their clothes doesn’t help anyone. Similar orders have been enforced across the country and have only increased racial profiling by police and increased racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the group told the Herald.

This is an affront to the constitutional principles of fairness, freedom of expression and due process, the statement said. Were pleased that the commissioners voted to repeal this ordinance. Our local leaders should look for ways to end discriminatory practices, not embolden them.

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