SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Emotions ran high and many offered their opinions to Shreveport City Council members Tuesday as the public weighed in on a proposal to repeal the city’s ban on sagging pants.
Councilwoman LeVette Fuller proposed the repeal.
The issue became a hot topic following the death of Anthony Childs. The coroner says Childs shot himself during an altercation with police.
On Tuesday, a number of citizens echoed Fuller’s call to repeal the measure, saying it unfairly targets African-American men.
“I have friends and they also sag. But among all the stereotypes and underlying racism that can potentially be through this ordinance, they are not like people say they are,” one 16-year-old Huntington High student said.
“Sagging is an issue we have to deal with, not the police,” another citizen said.
Mayor Adrian Perkins said that his administration strongly supports repealing the ban and that he believes the public also supports repealing the ordinance.
Perkins thinks the law targets African-Americans. “Just like many initiatives from the war on drugs that we now realize are discriminating against people of color, we’ve evolved to get that understanding, and this is that vein.”
Councilman James Green, who was on the council when the ban was approved in 2007, said "it was never designed to target black folk, white folk.
“It was just designed that citizens came to us and said we are tired of looking at somebody’s butt. Who wants to look at someone’s dirty drawers? That’s how that came about,” he explained.
"It has nothing to do with where we are now.”
Fuller calls the ban unconstitutional.
“We have laws against indecent exposure on the books, so this is in some ways redundant. And now the unintended consequence is that people are being targeted regardless of what the intention was.”
Despite the mayor’s calls for council members to vote on the issue Tuesday, the proposal to repeal the ban is an ordinance. And ordinances require two readings. So since the council introduced the repeal Tuesday, its members will take a final vote on the proposal in two weeks.