In the mid-2000s, cities in the South went on a spree criminalizing “saggy pants” and instituting bans. Ultraconservatives have made up the false narrative that the practice of “sagging” is linked to gangs.
In February, Shreveport Police in Louisiana tried to stop Anthony Childs because of his saggy pants. As they were pursuing him, police noticed that he had a gun.
That is when officer Traveion Brooks open fired. He shot eight times, hitting his target three times. Childs also shot himself in the chest, which, according to the prosecutor, was enough to rule his death as a suicide. Many say Childs would not have died if the city’s 12-year-old ordinance banning saggy pants did not exist.
Mayor Adrian Perkins signed the ordinance Wednesday night that repeals the ban.
— Shreveport Mayor, Adrian Perkins (@ShreveportMayor) June 13, 2019
On Tuesday, the Shreveport Town Council voted to do away with criminalizing saggy pants. The law prohibits the public wearing of pants below the waist, exposing the skin or undergarments.
In a letter to the council before the vote, ACLU of Louisiana legal director Katie Schwartzmann wrote:
“The law is clearly being used in a blatantly racially discriminatory manner that makes the city vulnerable to suit. There is no legitimate need for this ordinance beyond racially motivated animus.”
There have been 726 arrests for saggy pants in Shreveport since the original 2007 ordinance, according to the Shreveport Times. Ninety-six percent of those arrested were Black men.
Mayor Adrian Perkins’ repeal goes into effect next Wednesday.