Posted on August 23, 2011

From Lynwood to Florida, Saggy Pants Under Assault

Steve Schmadeke and Dennis Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2011

When police arrived outside a Lynwood party last month to check for curfew violators, Bowen High School student Cantrell Tremble, 18, wasn’t worried about getting a ticket. So he was surprised when police cited him for the way he wore his pants.

“(The officer) looked and saw … I was sagging,” Tremble said recently. “It’s very unfair. Everybody dresses the same way.”

Although the case against Tremble was dropped after the ticketing officer didn’t appear at a hearing, a Tribune review of police records found that south suburban Lynwood is assessing fines as high as $750 for those caught wearing sagging pants in public. Police, who say the $750 fines were made in error, more commonly assessed fines of $50 to $250.

In 2008, Lynwood was the first Chicago suburb to enact a ban on low-hanging pants, but others have followed suit. The most recent was neighboring Sauk Village, which in March outlawed pants that hang more than 4 inches off the hip. Last month, Collinsville, just east of St. Louis, narrowly approved its own saggy-pants ordinance.


The Illinois American Civil Liberties Union criticized the ordinance as racial profiling when it was enacted but has yet to challenge it in court. {snip}


For Lynwood leaders, the ordinance is a way to take a stand against a fashion many find offensive or indecent. {snip}


Florida recently enacted a “Pull Up Your Pants” bill, requiring school districts in the Sunshine State to discipline students who wear “clothing that exposes underwear.” Pastors have reportedly marched the streets of Winston-Salem, N.C., urging residents to “pull them up,” and a South Carolina man recently released a children’s book titled “Oliver Vance Pull Up Your Pants!”