SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - One Shreveport city councilwoman is seeking to change a law she finds “problematic” and a violation of the constitution. District B Representative, LeVette Fuller, wants to repeal Shreveport’s saggy pants law.
“It concerns me that we have a law that is unconstitutional in regards to freedom of expression,” she says.
The ordinance passed in 2007. The law says it’s illegal for someone to appear in public with their pants below the waist, revealing skin or undergarments.
According to data from The Shreveport Police Department, there’s been more than 700 arrest violations since the law began. Violations result in fines ranging from $100 to $250 and community service hours.
Fuller says cities across the country, that previously pushed for sagging laws, are now changing course. She wants Shreveport to fall in line.
“We don’t legislate people leaving the beach, lake or pool in a bikini, only this particular form of clothing,” she argues. “We’re not legislating skinheads or bikers.”
She also refutes claims that repealing the law eliminates a tool from a cop’s tool belt.
According to her research, she says African-American males accounted for most of the stops due to this law.
“We’re profiling people based on the way they dress," she says.
Fuller’s recent spark to seek change happened at last week’s city council meeting, where she learned more about a controversial officer-involved shooting.
Anthony Childs died Feb. 5 following an altercation with Shreveport Police Officer Treveion Brooks, near Hollywood Avenue at Kennedy Drive. The Caddo Parish Coroner ruled the death a suicide.
Fullers says the suspicious persons call that originated the incident stemmed from his pants sagging.
“Being able to say out loud that someone was stopped or detained because legally they were not dressed appropriately is an issue,” Fuller says. “We shouldn’t give police the ability to look at a human body the same way you look at a broken tail light."
She says the issue goes beyond the lens of race. She calls it government overreach.
“We should have reasonable laws about obscenity and public nudity. “
Fuller says Friday, the city council will look at her proposal.
At the May 28 city council meeting, leaders will have their first read on the legislation.
Two weeks later, they will move forward with final passage, if they plan to repeal the law.