Some local leaders consider "saggy pants" as indecent exposure
PIKEVILLE, TN (WRCB) - One Tennessee town has gotten international attention for threatening to fine people exposing their backsides by wearing "saggy pants." Now another local community is considering it, too.
Pikeville became the first city in Tennessee to pass an ordinance restricting low-hanging bottoms earlier this summer. Now in Marion County the city of South Pittsburg is looking into it.
South Pittsburg Mayor Jane Dawkins says the city attorney is researching the issue and any potential legal problems a saggy pants ordinance could bring. There is some concern the ACLU may sue from the stance that it targets the African American community. Local leaders in South Pittsburg and Pikeville, where it's already in place, argue it has nothing to do with race, rather indecent exposure.
"We're not going to let you walk the streets of Pikeville indecent, bottom line," Pikeville Mayor Phillip Cagle said.
Since passing the ordinance earlier this summer, Pikeville Mayor Phillip Cagle has gotten calls from across the country even overseas, like England and Australia, some questioning the motive.
"It was not meant to violate anybody's rights. We were the first ones they wanted to kind of make this thing like we're picking at it as being a racial thing," Mayor Cagle said.
But he says officers are not racial profiling, they're cracking down on anyone whose pants are hanging down so low, more than three inches of skin or underwear is showing.
"I don't want anybody walking down the street exposing themselves and us not being able to say we don't like that," Mayor Cagle said.
The first time you get a warning. The second time it's a $25 fine and $50 if you're caught a third time. Just the threat of it seems to be working.
"I got a lot of friends who did sag, but they're reformed saggers now," Pikeville resident James Brewer said.
Pikeville Police have not issued a single citation for it all summer.
"Every once in a while you'll see them jerk their pants up when they see a cop car coming through," Brewer said.
Now in Marion County, the city of South Pittsburg is considering a similar ordinance.
"There's a lot of it going on and they just need to learn where their waist is and put them where it goes," South Pittsburg resident Tracy Parker said.
The city attorney researching the legality and effectiveness of a local ordinance. Moms like Tracy Parker say somebody needs to finally stop the saggy pants trend.
"You've got all these younger ones that are seeing all of these bigger kids behinds. Very inappropriate," Parker said.
South Pittsburg officials don't have a set time of when the issue will be discussed next.
Pikeville's mayor say the prime minister of The Netherlands called him saying the trend is an issue needing addressed there, too.
Pikeville's indecent exposure ordinance copied its language from Atlanta's. It's worth noting that if your shirt is long enough to cover your backside, saggy pants are allowed.