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City Repeals Law That's Said to Target Blacks

Opa-locka gives 'saggy pants' law the yank
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2020 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida city has repealed its "saggy pants" law after critics said it unfairly singled out Black residents, Fox News reports. The Opa-locka City Commission repealed the 13-year-old ordinance—and a similar one targeting women in exposed underwear—with a 4-1 vote Wednesday by video conference. "I was never in support of it, even as a resident," Vice Mayor Chris Davis tells the Miami Herald. "I felt it disproportionately affected a certain segment of our population, which is young, African American men." Signs for the law show two Black men with pants below the waistline along with the words, "No ifs, ands or butts ... It's the city law!" The one holdout was commissioner Alvin Burke, who said the law wasn't meant "to target our young Black men, but to uplift our young Black men."

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"As of today, we still have our young men walking around with saggy, baggy pants," added the 66-year-old, who was voted into office in 2018. "If y'all see fit to do away with it and just continue to let our young black men walk around into our buildings like that ... then so be it." But not everyone considered the law necessary or even legal when it was instituted in 2007. At the time, the ACLU of Florida called it a "ridiculous waste of public resources" that would "impose overly harsh penalties for victimless behavior." It's unknown how often Opa-locka enforced the law and how much money has been amassed in fines. The south Florida city is 58% Black, per US Census data, and one of the state's poorest cities with roughly 47% living below the poverty line. (Read more Blacks stories.)

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