Albany City Commissioners keep ‘saggy pants’ ordinance

Albany City Commissioners keep ‘saggy pants’ ordinance
Albany city commissioners decided not to repeal the "Saggy Pants" ordinance. (Source: walb)

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Albany residents have been expected to "pull them up" for the past 10 years.

And after the most recent Albany City Commission decision, that expectation has not changed.

“I actually kind of knew that the decision was going to come down along those particular lines. I think there is more education that we have to do behind the saggy pants ordinance. There are a lot of things that did not come to light because we did not have public comment on the issue, so that’s something we are going to have to work harder on,” said city commissioner Demetrius Young.

Commissioner Young was the only commissioner that voted to repeal the "Saggy Pants" Ordinance.
Commissioner Young was the only commissioner that voted to repeal the "Saggy Pants" Ordinance. (Source: walb)

Commissioner Young was the only commissioner that voted to repeal the order.

The city's saggy pants ordinance was originally passed in 2010 as an "indecency ordinance."

Its main goal was to prohibit people from wearing pants below their waistline.

However, for Dr. Joshua Neslon, a pastor and community activist, the ordinance is a way to suppress one’s clothing choices.

“If it’s not showing nudity or any skin, it’s about feelings. It’s about what someone thinks to be indecent, but we are saying it’s not indecent,” said Nelson.

For those that are caught with their pants down, it could cost them $25 for the first offense, and $200 for a repeated offense.

Along with a fine, they could be required to participate in up to 40 hours of court-approved community service.

Professor and Activist James Pratt Jr. say these punishments are “steep.”

“Having a young boy to wear his dad’s hand-me-downs, and get stopped by the police, and then his mother or guardian or whoever has to pay the fee, when they don’t even have the money to buy clothes, is steep. You have to think about not only the financial burden but the time burden. Somebody has to drop them off to do community service. Somebody has to set up a payment plan, so all of these things are components of the criminalization of clothes,” said Pratt.

President of the Albany-Dougherty NAACP chapter, Kiara Jackson, says that even though she and Pratt were not allowed to present at the meeting, they hope to work with the city in the future towards a common goal.

“We are still committed to assisting the city in this regard.. and we’re going to continue to push on to do and if we continue to see resistance, we might have to bring in our state conference,” said Jackson.

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