In February, 31-year-old Anthony Childs was shot and killed in Shreveport, La., over a confrontation with police started by a law against sagging pants.
Since that tragedy, councilwoman LeVette Fuller wants to end the 2007 law that prohibits wearing pants below the waist. According to the Census, Shreveport is a majority-minority community at 57 percent black.
On Friday, according to Baton Rouge CBS affiliate WAFB TV, the Shreveport City Council began looking at a proposal to repeal the law, noting that since its inception more than 700 violations have resulted in fines ranging from $100 to $250 as well as community service. Police, in some case, have even arrested individuals for nothing more than wearing baggy jeans.
According to the Shreveport Times, during a confrontation, Childs fled police. Officer Traveion Brooks fired at Childs eight times during the February police chase, but the Caddo Parish coroner claims Childs died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and therefore ruled his death a suicide. Brooks also claims that Childs shot himself, though some wonder whether Childs’ death was properly investigated. Along with the controversy of Child’s death, the “saggy pants” law itself is contentious.
“Being able to say out loud that someone was stopped or detained because legally they were not dressed appropriately is an issue,” Fuller told WAFB. “We shouldn’t give police the ability to look at a human body the same way you look at a broken tail light.”
Around the time the Shreveport ban was passed in 2007, other predominantly black communities like Pine Lawn, Mo., were also creating similar laws policing black expression. Many cities have debated whether sagging pants posed an issue of indecency as claimed, or are simply a mode of expressive freedom.
“We don’t legislate people leaving the beach, lake or pool in a bikini, only this particular form of clothing,” Fuller said to ABC News KNOE 8. “We’re not legislating skinheads or bikers.”