Benjamin Fearnow, CBS Tampa, September 17, 2014
Just one month after the Ocala City Council voted in favor of a ban against saggy pants in which offenders were subject to a fine or jail time, the controversial ordinance was repealed after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People threatened legal action.
A town hall meeting in Ocala on Tuesday saw a 4-1 vote reversing the ordinance, with Councilwoman Mary Rich putting forth the dissenting vote because she hoped the council would still make it a civil offense to wear saggy pants on city property. The saggy pants law takes aim at anyone on city property wearing his or her pants two inches below their natural waist in a way that exposes their underwear or backside.
But Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said legislation or criminalization of a person’s wardrobe puts the city in “dangerous territory.”
“I think you get into really dangerous territory when you start legislating what type of clothes people wear or how they put together their ensemble,” Guinn told WKMG-TV.
And his stance comes after criticism from the NAACP, who applauded the council’s action to repeal the ordinance, arguing that such an issue should be dealt with at home, in churches or by community groups–not the government.
“I’m sorry, it’s going to be black males that are the subject of this,” Dale Landry, of the NAACP Florida chapter, told WKMG.