SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Shreveport City Council has voted to repeal the city’s saggy pants ban.
After weeks of discussion and debate and more than two hours of public comment, the Shreveport City Council voted 6 to 1 Tuesday afternoon to repeal the 2007 ordinance that made it illegal to wear pants below the waist. Councilman James Flurry was the only member to vote against the repeal.
Councilwoman Levette Fuller’s proposal to repeal that ordinance topped the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting.
Fuller has said that she felt the ordinance “has a disproportionate impact on a subset of the African American community.” She proposed the repeal following the death of Anthony Childs, who police say took his own life in a confrontation with officers who had attempted to stop him on suspicion of violating the ordinance.
According to statistics compiled by the Shreveport Police Department at Fuller’s request, there have been more than 700 citations for violation of the ordinance since it went into effect.
“It gives probable cause to stop a person and detain them for being in breach of that ordinance, but then it creates an opportunity to check for other things,” said Fuller.
Calling the law unconstitutional and discriminatory, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana Monday sent a letter to the Shreveport City Council urging the city to repeal the ordinance.
“The law is clearly being used in a blatantly racially discriminatory manner that makes the City vulnerable to suit,” wrote ACLU of Louisiana legal director Katie Schwartzmann in the letter, which was also signed by Bill Quigley of the Loyola School of Law. “There is no legitimate need for this ordinance beyond racially motivated animus.”
Tuesday’s council meeting got underway at 3 p.m. in Government Plaza in downtown Shreveport. For more than an hour, citizens came forward with emotional comments regarding ordinance. Councilman Jerry Bowman brought forth an amendment which was not well-received by many, proposing amending the ordinance to remove the fine for violations and replace it with community service. It would also eliminate jail time for violating the ordinance.
Watch the full city council-recorded stream of the discussion, vote, and debate here: